"LIONS FOR LAMBS"
Inspired by the events leading up to the Iraq war and the manufactured reasons for our entrance into Iraq, the movie Lions For Lambs, directed by Robert Redford, takes us deep into Afghanistan and our ongoing war on terror. All the finest talent available has been gathered for the film: Tom Cruise as Senator Jasper Irving, using the war as his steppingstone to the presidency; Robert Redford as a well-meaning, idealistic professor, anxious to see his students make something of themselves; and, Meryl Streep in the role of a journalist being given her "exclusive" big story which, unfortunately, is full of holes which only she seems capable of realizing.
The action takes place in three separate scenarios: a professor's college office; the Senator's inner-chambers and an Afghanistan frozen waste of a battlefield. In the latter, the sound and fury of battle are exacerbated to test the viewer's fortitude, patience and tolerance. It is here that we begin to realize fully the awful, irreparable decisions, so calmly made in the Senator's office which seem to mirror President Bush's decision to invade Iraq.
Though all the characters are drawn well and the acting is truly first rate, the script, by Matthew Michael Carnahan, doesn't come together well. We're given the premise that two excellent Ivy-League college students played by Derek Luke and Michael Pena decide to enlist to fight so that they will be validated and given respect when they return. Another very bright student of Redford's, Andrew Garfield, tells him of his disgust with the American culture and that making money seems to be a universal goal.
The film lacked cohesion and created little believability in the actions of each of the students. The truism is brought home to the viewer that war is created by old men who are willing to send young men to risk their lives in harm's way. On that level, Carnahan was successful.
Release date: November 9 / Running time: 88 minutes/ Rating: R