Moneyball (12A)

Starring: Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman

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The Independent Culture

Since Brad Pitt announced he would quit acting in three years' time, commentators have made scornful assessments of his career.

Bennett Miller's Moneyball, alongside Tree of Life, shows that he is now a far more versatile and nuanced performer than those who continue to see him as the eye candy from Thelma and Louise will credit. This is an anti-sports movie. The screenplay by Steve Zallian and Aaron Sorkin (based on Michael Lewis's book) is about statistics, money and winning, not glory. Oakland A's coach Bille Beane (Pitt) and Yale economics whiz Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) use "sabremetrics," to piece together a team on the cheap. Pitt plays Beane as a laidback visionary. His coaches (especially a bewildered looking Philip Seymour Hoffman) hate his methods, but he has guile and drive in abundance. Moneyball is surprisingly downbeat, but also very absorbing in its own slow-burning way.