Lions for Lambs - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Lions for Lambs Reviews

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½ May 20, 2016
Robert Redford has good intentions. To be sure, he is one of "those", the Hollywood liberals that just won't quit no matter what in trying to make films, from time to time, that try and change things. More power to him. But Lions for Lambs wont change anything, except maybe how some fans going into it will view Tom Cruise, if they've only seen his more action-movie heavy stuff. It's a work where the theme of "Iraq war, bad, Afghanistan-war, questionable" is pounded away like a solider's drum. While there is an interesting inter-play quality to the structure- and interplay in the sense of multiple short plays interwoven into a semi-cohesive whole- it never completely works because of the ups and downs that are working here. There is some of the most interesting dialog in a movie this year in Lions for Lambs, and as well some of the worst directing and just storytelling I've seen this year as well. It's a vicious kind of cycle. And, of course, it preaches to the choir.

The Iraq war was a mistake- even Senator Jasper Irving admits this, albeit with his blame (rightfully, not so oddly enough) stretching to the media sitting across his desk in the form of a report. This is the bedrock that could've made a better film- or at least a better single play- that has Tom Cruise and Meryl Streep playing off each other for the better part of a third of the film. Watching Cruise play a GOP senator who believes sincerely everything he says, even as he smiles through his double-played teeth, is revelatory; it's arguably one of his best performances, if almost too easy. Who would've thought that he could move over some of the characteristics that critics have chided him for for years (jerky acting, a BS entitlement) and made it work splendidly for such a crazy neo-con? Meanwhile, Streep makes this another cake-walk, with her best moments when she's alone in the taxi leaving the interview with the senator, her reactions telling just as much, if not more so, than during (and enduring) it. The power-play between corrupt, power-hungry politician and the veteran reporter caught in over her head thanks to mass media is captivating.

Unfortunately, the rest of the movie is hit or miss, mostly the latter; Redford plays a political science professor who tries to sway a smart-Aleck student who could be in danger of failing to the side of good by telling him about two students of him who were with enough conviction to enlist, and went to Afghanistan to fight despite the professor's protests. This conversation in the professor's office isn't half-bad, but when it switches to the actual battle scenes - which is mostly the two soldiers with broken legs embedded in a snowy Afghan mountain awaiting their doom - it's awful, the kind of 2nd rate World Trade Center maudlin soldier tripe that wouldn't make it past the studio heads had Redford not been at the helm (in fact, the ending, which might not be a shock to those who have seen their share of "valiant soldier" pictures, is especially offensive in how it is shot and edited, in a manner that is of the utmost exploitation of the audience).

Ultimately, despite the interest that is there and the fine acting, there ends up being, between the three story lines, too much obvious proselytizing, nothing urgent that SHOULD be brought to the discussion; anyone who might be swayed (i.e., not to be stereotypical, conservatives who will only see the lame-brained Cruise action movie vehicles) won't want to see a movie where Cruise just sits in one room, in a suit, with no guns or action that he participates in. And anyone who's already on a liberal side could potentially see this as not merely the obvious stated again (that Bush sucks and Republicans can be really crazy) but propaganda. It's not badly made at all, and it is a writer's movie above all. I just wish it were better written, for the sake of the top-notch cast and the aspirations of the filmmaker- as earnest as he genuinely is in a time of perpetual cynicism- to make a difference.
January 12, 2016
Just saw this (1/11/16) finding it in the library and being impressed with the cast. I never heard of it and wondered why as I am an avid movie follower. I gave it 4 stars due to the ingenious interweaving plot construction and depth of acting of all involved. I thought it might be new and was shocked that it was made 8 years ago when I researched it on Rotten Tomatoes! Perhaps it was before its time as I
appreciated the portrayal of social conscience and the lack thereof.
December 31, 2015
Robert Redford is a good director (a bit overrated if you ask me but still good) and this looks like a solid cast. It's about time for Cruise to bring his A game to a movie (it seems he does so about twice a decade and has yet to do so this one). This has a fine line to walk between being a clever critique of the war and being a preachy piece of drivel, hopefully they stay on the right side ...
December 5, 2015
Better than reviews would suggest but it does dare question military thinking :0
½ October 25, 2015
This film is so bullshit, and in hindsight, is completely wrong on a lot of points...things that have actually been proven over time. I just don't like how this film thinks it's the greatest...this film is so fucking narcissistic, so pretentious, it's hard to even watch at times. I've never seen a film that's so fucking in love with itself. This movie has about as much subtlety as Starship Troopers, but it thinks it's being Citizen Kane with the messages it sends. Fuck this movie. It could've been so much better, but instead it's just a pile of shit.
½ June 21, 2015
Robert Redford and his stellar cast raises interesting questions but it's overall very heavy handed in it's political messages
June 1, 2015
I think this gets a bad rap. It's a perfectly acceptable and thought provoking piece of entertainment. The performances are good, especially Meryl who is awesome and sweet.
½ April 25, 2015
It is a disappointment with such class.
½ March 23, 2015
Intersting movie, cause the main is in the ideas, not the action itself. But i was expecting more...
January 31, 2015
well the first brave
January 20, 2015
Fallida pelicula sobre las opiniones del sr Redford sobre la guerra de su pais , por momentos llega a aburrir.
January 15, 2015
A really unfocused narrative and a boring film throughout ruin a decent cast and a intriguing premise.
January 9, 2015
With films like Lions for Lambs, its overall themes and tones, although relevant, come at a cost for lengevity. Were I to watch this back in 2007 my consensus of this outing may have been dramatically opposite from now. But then when making a film set during any current period, it really is hard to predict the future. Lions for Lambs centers around 3 couplings, a PR free meeting between the Senator of the USA and an experienced journalist surrounding a new plan of action for the war on terror in Iraq. It follows the meeting of tutor and student in a modern day society and it follows the horrifying predicament that 2 young American soldiers are put in and basically tries to tie them all into a nutshell, without being to controvesial, while at the same time trying to hit those marks. The conclusion is a jumbled mix of excellent ideas and performances, with horrific gaps in pacing and very little feeling of relevancy between the meetings until the very end, by which point it feels more tacked on that anything else. The cast are all excellently chosen, Cruise plays the Senator as smug and arrogantly as you would expect him to, really playing to his strengths with his perfect smile, with serious undertones. Meryl Streep also does a fine job as a journalist, trying to be used to force propaganda against the people of America. Equally Robert Redford and Andrew Garfield both turn in extremely viable performances of student/teacher mentoring. The week link are the soldiers, although their situation is on the surface, the most thrilling, it just lacks any real attention, acting like more of a tool to intercut between both meetings. Redford does well directing his actors, with powerful performances but when the string is so loose between them its hard to find weight behind it all. The ideas are yet again brilliant, controversial and meaningful to the world, not just the american people, but it still leans heavily on the good old USA side, meaning that we dont really get a sense of the opposing side, almost making this a one sided arguement, were it not for Meryl Steep and Andrew Garfield. It looks nice in places, and as short sequences the 3 all make for some entertaining pieces of drama, but by the end you can visabley see the seems just unbuckle before your very eyes. Watch if you wanted to catch this but never got round to it, but there are plenty of other offerings out there that give something more accurate.
Robbanflix
Super Reviewer
January 2, 2015
Hard to rate this one , it was a decent movie with much talk / discussions. Story is about a new strategy from the congressman"T.Cruise" for dealing with war and he give the news for the journalist "M. Streep" meanwhile we get to follow the his new strategy briefly with 2 soldiers behind enemy lines in Afghanistan. Anyway if u like some politics talk and drama along with great actors go see this one.
½ December 22, 2014
Lions for Lambs alternates between riveting, provocative, and political between a power house cast and crisp writing.
November 9, 2014
Heavy handed treatment of an interesting subject turns terrific cast into mush. Tom Cruise plays to type and even Merryl Streep can't help herself from over acting. The snot nosed kid who Robert Redford try's to "save" is not worth the bother.
½ October 10, 2014
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½ August 27, 2014
boring and not interresting
½ August 4, 2014
Not loved by the critics, but I was pleasantly surprised.
June 11, 2014
This is basically three storylines that are tied together. I was entertained by the stories of the college teacher trying to motivate a student and the story of the two soldiers, but not so much by the story involving Tom Cruise and Meryl Streep yapping about government politics.
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