Entertainment Weekly - 12/22/2006
"[Damon] has excelled at subverting the all-American openness he projects....Here, he's the ultimate enigma machine, a man willing to erase himself for his country." -- Grade: B
Entertainment Weekly - 12/29/2006
Included in Entertainment Weekly's "Top 10 Films Of The Year" -- "It's a movie that perches you on the edge of your brain."
Total Film - 03/01/2007 3 stars out of 5 -- "[With] a killer cast, with character-actor stalwarts like Alec Baldwin, William Hurt and Michael Gambon filling out its most minor roles."
Box Office - 02/01/2007
"[T]he story it tells -- about the early years of the CIA...is simply too compelling to dismiss..."
Uncut - 03/01/2007
"[De Niro] proves here that - like Clint Eastwood - he can direct a mature, questioning film without didacticism or pomp."
Movieline's Hollywood Life - 03/01/2007
"The period details are hypnotic, and the message is ripe for the moment."
Sight and Sound - 04/01/2007
"Intelligent, cleverly written and extraordinarily well crafted and performed, THE GOOD SHEPHERD boasts a subtlety and depth you won't find in the world of Jason Bourne or James Bond."
USA Today - 04/06/2007 3.5 stars out of 4 -- "Matt Damon is terrific....The rare long movie that's at its strongest near the end."
Ultimate DVD - 06/29/2007 4 stars out of 5 -- "De Niro's faith in the audience's intelligence is refreshing, making this rewardingly complicated viewing that is bolstered by the film's ambitious scope and lavish production values."
With THE GOOD SHEPHERD, Robert De Niro (A BRONX TALE) makes an ambitious return to the director's chair. A labor of love for Oscar-winning screenwriter Eric Roth (FORREST GUMP), the film tells an epic, fictionalized account of how the Central Intelligence Agency was born. Matt Damon plays Edward Wilson, a reserved young man who graduated from Yale in the late 1930s. His membership in the exclusive, hidden Skull and Bones society led him away from poetry and into a relationship with the federal government, who recruited him to help them on several covert operations. Roth's script alternates between Wilson's gradual emergence as a genuine government operative in the early 1940s and the infamous Bay of Pigs conflict in the early 1960s. Along the way, he has a sweet romance with a pretty deaf girl (a sparkling Tammy Blanchard) and ends up marrying the woman he impregnates (Angelina Jolie) out of a strong sense of duty. Throughout the film, the emergence of a mysterious tape haunts Wilson, who is determined to uncover the truth behind a leak in his secret organization.
Production designer Jeannine Claudia Oppewall (L.A. CONFIDENTIAL, CATCH ME IF YOU CAN) and costume designer Ann Roth (THE ENGLISH PATIENT, THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY) faithfully recreate these earlier periods in American history, while the imagery of Oscar-winning cinematographer Robert Richardson (J.F.K., THE AVIATOR) casts a warm, stately glow upon De Niro's assembled cast of luminaries (including Alec Baldwin, Michael Gambon, William Hurt, Billy Crudup, and Joe Pesci). The result is a production that recalls Francis Ford Coppola's THE CONVERSATION and Steven Spielberg's MUNICH.