||With THE GOOD SHEPHERD, Robert De Niro (A BRONX TALE) makes an ambitious return to the director's chair. A labor of love for Oscar-winning screenwriter Eric Roth (FORREST GUMP), the film tells an epic, fictionalized account of how the Central Intelligence Agency was born. Matt Damon plays Edward Wilson, a reserved young man who graduated from Yale in the late 1930s. His membership in the exclusive, hidden Skull and Bones society led him away from poetry and into a relationship with the federal government, who recruited him to help them on several covert operations. Roth's script alternates between Wilson's gradual emergence as a genuine government operative in the early 1940s and the infamous Bay of Pigs conflict in the early 1960s. Along the way, he has a sweet romance with a pretty deaf girl (a sparkling Tammy Blanchard) and ends up marrying the woman he impregnates (Angelina Jolie) out of a strong sense of duty. Throughout the film, the emergence of a mysterious tape haunts Wilson, who is determined to uncover the truth behind a leak in his secret organization.^Production designer Jeannine Claudia Oppewall (L.A. CONFIDENTIAL, CATCH ME IF YOU CAN) and costume designer Ann Roth (THE ENGLISH PATIENT, THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY) faithfully recreate these earlier periods in American history, while the imagery of Oscar-winning cinematographer Robert Richardson (J.F.K., THE AVIATOR) casts a warm, stately glow upon De Niro's assembled cast of luminaries (including Alec Baldwin, Michael Gambon, William Hurt, Billy Crudup, and Joe Pesci). The result is a production that recalls Francis Ford Coppola's THE CONVERSATION and Steven Spielberg's MUNICH.