When your entire movie revolves around the enigmatic nature of your central character, it helps to have an actor who’s comfortable with a mostly internalized performance. That’s not exactly the case with Paul Rudd, who stars as Moe Berg, a journeyman major league baseball catcher of the 1920s and 1930s whose post-retirement second career involved joining the OSS during World War II, and possibly taking on the assignment of assassinating German nuclear physicist Werner Heisenberg (Mark Strong). Robert Rodat’s screenplay focuses on the World War II-era material, which includes dropping a weirdly out-of-place battlefield sequence into the middle of what is otherwise a low-key character study. That character is a potentially fascinating one—a man perpetually out of place as an Ivy League-educated intellectual in baseball, as a Jew, as a closeted gay man—and Rudd does at times capture that discomfort manifested as fierce determination. But while the attempt to stretch his acting muscles is admirable, Rudd never entirely convinces as a guy who survives by keeping himself hidden from everyone. Moe Berg is an enigma, while the guy playing him merely seems quiet.
Director: Ben Lewin
Producer: Kevin Frakes, Tatiana Kelly, Buddy Patrick, Robert Barnum, Jonathan Gardner and William Kay
Cast: Paul Rudd, Mark Strong, Guy Pearce, Paul Giamatti, Sienna Miller, Jeff Daniels, Tom Wilkinson, Giancarlo Giannini, Hiroyuki Sanada and Shea Whigham