To be really honest with you, I’ve always found Matt Damon a little bit ikky. I don’t know why. There’s something snub-nosed and stubby about him that’s kind of gross; thick ankles, no doubt. How unfair of me is that?!? Particularly since he’s turning into a pretty fine actor.

In The Good Shepherd, Robert de Niro’s compelling semi-history of the birth of the CIA, we follow Damon’s Edward Wilson – a grey and humourless little man who shuffles through the movie like Cecil the Turtle in a homburg and raincoat – as he negates his life and all his major relationships in favour of the Agency and its secrets. Played out against flashbacks of how the CIA came about, the main plot involves Wilson trying to identify the voice is on the incriminating tape where a young American agent gives away the details of the Bay of Pigs invasion to a sultry-voiced honey-trap…..

So, it’s a thriller of sorts, but hardlly a fast-paced one, at just shy of three hours long. Stylish, elegant and almost ruthless in its paired down tempo, De Niro offers us an intimate, relentless, somewhat disturbing expose of the damage that secrets can cause to the individual and the nation that keeps them. There are however some amazing espionage moments; I challenge your jaw to remain closed, for instance, when he deals quite resolutely with his son’s inappropriate fiancee.

The Good Shepherd filmed in London and New York, with the Dominican Republic playing a rather Hispanic looking Congo.