“The man who gives Moneyball its soul as well as, at times, its drive and exuberant energy is Brad Pitt, which surprises me, since I had written him off as a good-looking guy without much temperament,” writes New Yorker critic David Denby in his 10.3 review of Moneyball.

“Pitt was fun in such films as Snatch, in which, playing an Irish bare-knuckle boxer, he throws himself around the set and speaks in a brogue thicker than the head on a pint of Guinness, and he was exciting as the unpredictable, mock-fascist underground leader in Fight Club. But when he stopped moving and the camera bore in on him (in Meet Joe Black, for instance) his eyes were empty. He couldn’t convey thinking, which is not a sign of stupidity, just a failure of technique.

“But recently something has been happening inside Pitt. In Babel he showed hints of fire and a fallible rage. And in Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life, in which he plays a father who takes out his disappointments on his sons, his anger is self-wounding and tragic. It’s a performance that deserves an Academy Award.

In Moneyball, Pitt has the air of a former athlete who never quite grew up. His round-cheeked face, like Mickey Mantle‘s, has the congealed look of a picture on a baseball card. A restless man, Pitt’s Beane abruptly overturns anyone who disagrees or can’t keep up with him. Swapping players with other general managers on the telephone, Pitt is almost as quick as Cary Grant‘s manic newspaper editor in His Girl Friday.”