Lions for Lambs Reviews
1. The most aggressive in its politicizing is between a cocky Republican politician (Tom Cruise) and the liberal reporter who is interviewing him (Meryl Streep.) These 2 light up the screen with their charismatic performances, but largely get nowhere other than telling us what we should be thinking. It?s like watching any political debate on TV, as they simply volley back and forth with their views. Most of these arguments are the same ones you could hear (and probably have heard) countless times before and on any news network every day of the week.
2. Next there is the story of two soldiers (Michael Pena and Derek Luke) who are good friends and are part of an assault on the enemy in Afghanistan. This story almost has no point other than to add some action sequences, and to add stakes to what everyone else in the film is talking about. These guys are likable and of course it?s always tough to see a depiction of American troops being asked to risk their lives for something they might not believe in, I just wish this was part of a better film (instead of being used as a tool to make a point.)
3. Finally there is a college student with promise who has lost his drive (Andrew Garfield) and his professor who wants him to be something better (Robert Redford.) It?s a whole lot more speechifying just like the first pair, and is also well-acted. Again, in a better film, the elements we see here could have been amazing. I think this story is meant as the moral we?re supposed to take home. It?s basically telling us, if we have a problem with our country and the way it?s being run, we need to stop being apathetic and get involved.
There?s nothing particularly wrong with what Lions for Lambs is trying to say, and if you are a liberal it might be nice to watch a movie that so proudly says it. However, the way it is presented feels so hamfisted that I was just bored instead of invested in it. A smart movie in this genre would show you things that make you question your own views, but this movie practically screams in your face what your view should be and why. They aren?t changing anybody?s opinion with that technique, that?s for sure.
Its exasperatingly dull, as you wait for something to happen.
Big name actors attempt to liven up a basic poli-sci research paper.
Just plain terrible.
Instead of using an actual plot, script or ANY drama, they use overly serious glances and barely-revelatory dialogue to quickly cram their points down your throat.
Irritating, over-baked, and eternally boring, even if you agree w their reasoning.
I hope they wasted a lot of their own money to learn the hard lesson of preaching an uninspired message.
Distasteful, obvious yuk.
1 out of 5
As usual, Meryl Streep is fascinating go watch. Not so Redford's character, who comes across as too smug.
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.
appreciated the portrayal of social conscience and the lack thereof.