Nov 182007

Lions For Lambs Movie PosterLions for Lambs begins after two determined students at a West Coast University, Arian (Derek Luke) and Ernest (Michael Pena), follow the inspiration of their idealistic professor, Dr. Malley (Robert Redford), and attempt to do something important with their lives. But when the two make the bold decision to join the battle in Afghanistan, Malley is both moved and distraught. Now, as Arian and Ernest fight for survival in the field, they become the string that binds together two disparate stories on opposite sides of America. In California, an anguished Dr. Malley attempts to reach a privileged but disaffected student (Andrew Garfield) who is the very opposite of Arian and Ernest. Meanwhile, in Washington D.C. the charismatic Presidential hopeful, Senator Jasper Irving (Tom Cruise), is about to give a bombshell story to a probing TV journalist (Meryl Streep) that may affect Arian and Ernest’s fates.

Robert Redford

Drama, War, Political Thriller

Robert Redford, Meryl Streep, Tom Cruise, Michael Peña, Andrew Garfield, Peter Berg, Kevin Dunn, Derek Luke,

Most films of this type are almost always packed with stereotypes about army men, Senators, journalists and it ends with a great deed or tragedy that is supposed to move the audiences. ‘Lions for Lambs’ discusses the same situation with a bit more realism and thoughtfulness than some of these films.

The plot of the film revolves around three events that are happening simultaneously – an ambitious Senator’s (Cruise) interview with a leading journalist (Streep), a formerly zealous and now careless student’s meeting with a professor (Redford) of political science and a military attack on the Taliban in Afghanistan. The three events are deeply interconnected but the focus in every scene is on what every character believes in, and how it influences where America is and where it will be in the future.

It actually debates the issues fairly even-handedly. No point of view is made to be bigger than the other. Yet, every view is articulately put forward. With no melodrama at hand, Redford presents different outlooks and makes the end product look effortlessly open-ended. Most significantly, the effect the film has on the audience is not mitigated by the lack of high voltage screaming and background music. The role as well as the viewpoint of politicians, the middle-class American student, the committed soldier and journalists is offered only so that it can be scrutinized by the audience.

I saw this film by myself, as Lay hates Tom Cruise. I’m not a huge fan, but he does a decent job in this movie. The rest of the cast does a great job as well. The story/ies are a bit hard to get your arms around right at first, but stick with it, and it all comes together. This was not a wasted afternoon, and I’ll probably make Lay watch this movie in DVD.

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