Based on Michael Lewis' biography of the same name, Moneyball describes how general manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) and assistant general manager Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) transformed the Oakland Athletics' 2002 season by rejecting their talent scouts' wholistic, intuitive assessments in favor of a sabermetric analysis of prospective players' base percentages. Beane goes from being the most acute victim to the cutting edge of sporting deregulation, responding to the player-trading that's crippling his team by identifying more as a trader than a manager, and so the drama's driven more by statistics and shareholders than by the sport itself - most actual depictions of baseball take the form of real flashbacks, footage of Beane's own aborted career - while there's none of the charisma or attitude generally associated with sporting films. Individual players are little more than the occasional disaggregation of point clusters, while even the main characters remain slightly underdrawn (it's rare to see Philip Seymour Hoffman, who plays disgruntled coach Art Howe, in a supporting role that's genuinely diminutive, that doesn't become the charismatic kernel of the film despite itself). As nothing less than the attempt to create an unflinchingly materialist, post-Fordist sports film, it runs the risk of actually leaving the realm of cinematic or aesthetic representation entirely - the baseball field is quickly abstracted from a visual to an audible to a textual to a purely conceptual plane, the cryptic text messages that Beane gets during critical games - but Bennett Miller artfully turns this to his advantage by making the very incommensurability between his conceptual and cinematic visions the aesthetic basis of the film. Translating Beane's rejection of "all intangibles" into a tangible silence, or a silence that refuses to be intangible, Bennett ensures that virtually everything feels like it takes place on a sound-stage, even if it doesn't look like it, locking his drama in an airtight compartment so deep in the stadium structure that it's always silent, no matter how tempestuous the surface of the crowd. This refines the white noise of information processing, the pixellated hush on the end of the line, until the viewer's sixth, statistical sense is heightened by the lack of other stimuli, and statistical analysis starts to truly "open up things we can't see". From that perspective, the screenwriting collaboration of Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zallian is inspired, resulting in a flaccid rhetorical flourish that tries to break this silence but is just absorbed back into it, just as any potential for comedy is quickly looped back into a milder, distributed absurdity, screwball dispersed into moneyball. At its strongest, it feels as if there's no real protagonist, that Beane is just another conduit - Pitt's opacity has never worked better - and that even Miller himself is more ghost director than director, another member of a team-as-process that's both more inextricably connected and profoundly alienated - inextricably alienated - than ever before.