The Men Who Stare At Goats.
I've been quite a fan of Jon Ronson for ages, and read The Men Who Stare At Goats when it came out. In it Ronson went out and met some very strange people who'd been funded by the US military to develop psychic abilities for the aid or prevention of warfare.
For this film version of the book, some dramatic liberties have been taken, and an overall narrative thread added to what Ronson had told us. So we get Ewan McGregor as Bob Wilton, a small town journalist who embarks on a somewhat unlikely set of discoveries. In some respects he's playing Ronson - although the two aren't perhaps the greatest lookalikes!
His marriage is disintegrating, and he heads off to Kuwait in the aftermath of the invasion, in the hope of getting into Iraq and prove himself to be a man. While he's holed up in a hotel, he runs into George Clooney's Lyn Cassady, who's seemingly involved with a private contractor. But that's not the whole story. Making some connections WIlton falls in with Cassady, and we have a road movie of sorts as they attempt to reach Iraq.
Throughout the journey, Cassady fills Wilton in on the bizarre and downright mad things that the military has been attempting to do. Not least, kill a goat just by looking at it.
The characters are all memorable from the original source material, and although the over-arching story is perhaps a little wayward, the theme and the essence of the book and the overall insanity is there in spades. You can't help but laugh all the way through.
The top-notch cast also features Jeff Bridges as a character not a million miles away from The Big Lebowski's Dude, and an unpleasant Kevin Spacey character.
The super-soldiers that they were trying to develop were informally called "Jedi" and there's lots of fun to be had with McGregor's character not knowing what this means.
Overall, a quirky comedy that stays remarkably faithful to the book, despite having created a completely new story to base itself around. Well worth catching!