The Good Shepherd

I think a lot of movie goers will hate The Good Shepherd, a story about the early history of the Central Intelligence Agency, starring Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie, Alec Baldwin, William Hurt and directed by Robert De Niro (I didn’t recognize Keir Dullea and Timothy Hutton).

I was lost and confused for much of this story. I found the plot very complicated and difficult to follow. But I really liked the movie. I came away with the sense that this is what this world is really like: you don’t know what’s really going on, whom to trust. This ain’t your standard Hollywood spy story. Skip it unless you willing work pretty hard for almost three hours.

I’m still searching for an explanation that will untangle the plot for me.

5 thoughts on “The Good Shepherd

  1. The letter is admission that his father was a traitor. He is burning it to protect his family honor.

  2. Im glad I found this site. The explanation helped clear up alot of little bits and pieces that I either couldnt understand because of the audio or just missed altogether.

  3. Joe Browning offers this explanation of The Good Shepherd:
    “Matt Damon as a smart sensitive poetry student recruited by Skull & Bones fraternity and eventually OSS during WW2which then became CIA. Skull & Bones reunions were also meeting places for his CIA cronies where his son overhears the words “bahia cochinos” which is the landing site for the Cuban invasion “Bay of Pigs”. Russians get this out of his son through a female operative and crush the invasion. They send a recording of his son and the operative discussing it in the boudoir, Matt Damon recognizes this and is blackmailed by Russians to be their spy or they kill is son.
    He resists the blackmail, but does not respond to a question from the Russian about saving the female operative who they then kill (the sonlives).
    Subplot: English academic teacher (also spy) is killed by English Mole (Billy Crudup) using Damon as a front during his training. Crudup eventually defects and speaks to Damon on telephone from Moscow late in movie.
    Damon couldn’t do anything right in this one. He ruins the Bay of Pigs invasion, screws his marriage, doesn’t respond to a question by the Russians about his son’s fiancee so she is killed, his English mentor he leads to his death, and he abandons his true love (the deaf girl).”
    As for the Russian defector (who played the violin):
    I think it was sort of a dramatic way of saying “Gotcha”! At the end of the violin playing, Damon put the book “Ulysses” on the table which was full of spy gadgets that Damon found just before this house call. The book was a “welcome to our side” gift from Crudup (from England) who later defected. This defection may be what tipped Damon to examine the book and thus find his own mole. Damon explained his request for wanting to hear the violin as “I just wanted to hear one true thing from you” and then he showed him the book with the spy gadgets uncovered. Gotcha!”

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