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The Men Who Stare at Goats

2009

Country of Origin: United States of America (USA) United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK)

Language: English

Runtime: 93 min.

Age Rating: FSK 12

Director: Grant Heslov

Writer: Peter Straughan

Year of production: 2009

Camera: Robert Elswit

Cut: Tatiana S. Riegel

Music: Rolfe Kent

Production Company: BBC Films, Smoke House, Westgate Film Services, Winchester Capital Partners

Cast:

George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Spacey, Stephen Lang, Robert Patrick, Waleed Zuaiter, Stephen Root, Glenn Morshower, Nick Offerman, Tim Griffin, Rebecca Made, Jacob Browne, Todd La Tourette, Brad Grunberg, Elsa Villafane, Fawad Siddiqui, Samuel Ray Gates, McCaleb Burnett, Sean Phillips, Matt Newton, MinhTu Van, Robert Curtis Brown, Hrach Titizian, Shafik N. Bahou, Christopher Maher, Drew Seltzer, Donn Lamkin, Sean Curley, Michael-David Aragon, Morse Bicknell, Merik Tadros, Terry Serpico, Wiley M. Pickett, Diego Serrano, Reginald Huc, Kevin Geer, Kevin Wiggins, JJ Raschel, Arron Shiver, Jaime Margarida, Steve Witting, Hunter Bell, Edward Holley, Christopher Robinson, William Sterchi, George W. Bush, Saddam Hussein, A.J. Tannen, Casey Wayne, Alexandra Andrews, Sarah Belger, Robert Anthony Brass, Steven Ray Byrd, Rafael Christian, Robert Farrior, Christopher Fodge, John Galindez, Brent Lambert, John Macho, John McTasney, Michael J. Morris, Paul J. Porter, Frank Powers, Brian Tester

Production:

George Clooney, Barbara A. Hall, Grant Heslov, James A. Holt, Paul Lister, Alison Owen, Luillo Ruiz, David M. Thompson

Storyline:

In a short prelude, U.S. Army General Hopgood is painfully thwarted in an attempt to pass paranormally through a solid wall by simply running into it. The film then follows Ann Arbor Daily Telegram reporter Bob Wilton, whose wife leaves him for the newspaper's editor. Seeking an escape, Bob flies to Kuwait to report on the Iraq War and to prove to his wife and himself that he is a man. However, he stumbles onto the story of a lifetime when he meets a retired U.S. Army Special Forces operator, Lyn Cassady, who reveals that he was part of a U.S. Army unit training psychic spies (or "Jedi Warriors") to develop a range of parapsychological skills including invisibility, remote viewing, and phasing. The back story is told mainly through flashbacks.

In 1972, Army officer Bill Django, after accidentally falling out of a "Huey" helicopter in Vietnam's Bình Dương Province, found his newly recruited men to be unable or unwilling to fire on a female Viet Cong soldier before she shot him in the chest. He then underwent a fact-finding mission prompted by a vision where the Viet Cong soldier says, "their gentleness is their strength." The bulk of Django's mission immersed him fully into the New Age movement so that, when he returned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in 1980, he had long braided hair and a tattoo of a third eye surmounted on a pyramid on his chest.

Facilitated by the credulous General Hopgood, Django led the training of a New Earth Army, with Lyn Cassady and Larry Hooper as his top students. The two quickly developed a lifelong rivalry because of their opposing views on implementing the New Earth Army's philosophy. Lyn wanted to emphasize the teachings' positive side, such as the ability to resolve conflict peacefully, whereas Larry was more interested in the "dark side" and its military applications.

Prompted by a doodle in Bob's notebook (of an eye on a pyramid), Lyn takes him into Iraq. They are kidnapped by criminals who want to sell them to insurgents but escape with fellow hostage Mahmud Daash. They are rescued by a private security detail led by Todd Nixon. The trio flees when the detail is caught in a firefight fiasco with another American security detail. Bob and Lyn then continue on Lyn's alleged "mission", stating he had seen a vision of Bill Django.

After taking the wrong fork in the road their car is disabled by an IED. The other fork in the road actually leads to al-Qaim, Lyn's destination, but neither of them was able to read the Arabic on the roadsigns. Bob and Lyn wander in the desert where Lyn reveals that he had stopped a goat's heart to test the limit of his mental abilities and believes this evil deed has cursed him and the rest of the New Earth Army. It's also revealed that Hooper conducted an unauthorized LSD experiment which resulted in a soldier killing himself, and therefore forced Django out of the Army.

Eventually, Bob and Lyn are rescued and rehabilitated at a camp run by PSIC, a private research firm engaged in psychic and psychological experiments on a herd of goats and some captured locals. To Lyn's dismay, Larry runs the firm and employs Django, now a depressed alcoholic. Bob spends time with Django and learns the ways of the New Earth Army. They spike the base's food and water with LSD and free both the goats and captured locals, in an attempt to remove the curse. Following this, Lyn and Django fly off in a helicopter, never to be heard from again, disappearing into the sky "like all shamans".

Bob returns to work as a reporter and writes an article about his entire experience with Lyn. However, he's frustrated in that the story's only portion to be aired on the news is how the captives were forced to listen to the Barney & Friends theme song for 24 hours. This dilutes his story to the level of a joke, and Bob vows to continue trying to get the bigger story out. In the film's final scene, Bob exercises his own psychic abilities and, following some intense concentration, stands up and runs headlong through a solid wall in his office.