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Overall Rating
2.83

Awesome: 6.67%
Worth A Look26.67%
Just Average: 25%
Pretty Crappy26.67%
Sucks: 15%

6 reviews, 24 user ratings


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Lions for Lambs
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by brianorndorf

"Robert Redford has lost his damn mind"
4 stars

Anyone who dares enter “Lions for Lambs” must be equipped with the knowledge that this is a one-sided feature film, made by passionate people for passionate reasons. It’s not about equal time or playing fair, it’s about politically-charged lightning bolts administered directly to the brain. On that level alone, “Lambs” is an accomplished motion picture; a rallying call from director Robert Redford to the zombified nation, not to mention an enormously entertaining movie.

Given a rare interview slot to chat up new Iraq strategies, seasoned journalist Janine Roth (Meryl Streep) is asked to sit down with Senator Jasper Irving (Tom Cruise), bantering back and forth about Washington’s mistakes and plans for the future. Stephen Malley (Robert Redford), a college professor, has asked one of his students, Todd (Andrew Garfield), to spend an hour discussing his academic plans. Frustrated with his apathy, Malley begins to describe a world where the youth take no interest in the future of their country. Across the world, two of Malley’s former students (Derek Luke and Michael Pena) who have enlisted are put to the ultimate test when their helicopter is shot down in Afghanistan, leaving them alone, wounded, and running out of ammo as enemy forces gather.

Written by Matthew Michael Carnahan, “Lions for Lambs” holds the same unsophisticated ambitions as his last script, the autumn stinker, “The Kingdom.” Both films yearn to push across their Middle East fears, only “Lambs” isn’t beholden to Van Damme theatrics and procedural humdrum. It’s a more modestly constructed piece, leading with long, curled ribbons of dialogue, preferring verbal gunfire to the real thing.

That very straightforwardness is what cripples “Lambs” the most. Redford isn’t fooling around here; the man wants to prompt some serious consideration from the viewer, perhaps even an uprising. It’s an exhilarating piece of direction that begs the question, Robert Redford? This is the same man who’s been content making the cinematic equivalent of reading the L.L. Bean catalog for his entire career, and now he’s ready for a bare-knuckle brawl? Well, hot damn.

“Lambs” is stagy, typically focusing on two characters trying to outwit each other over extended takes, yet it’s captured with a reasonable helping of political fury. Redford is swinging for the fences with this one, sharpening the film to a razor point, hoping to hurl it into the heart of the Bush administration or, at the very least, instill the audience with a sense of courage to question their place in the world. It’s messy and obvious, but “Lambs” is blessed with a short running time to sprint through (90 minutes) and is cast with just about the finest quality of talent that can be.

As the Republican senator trying to manipulate the media to keep his political star polished, Cruise is careful not to turn Irving into a total baboon. The actor plays the role with slyness and unraveling patience, hitting emotional beats those in the back row could perceive while also preserving a sense of subtle irritation to the character as he tries to keep Roth on a short leash. Streep and Redford have the less dynamic roles, but they bear hug the thematic bigness of the picture with the same enthusiasm, hitting the ideal notes of despair that they might be engaged in a losing battle to change the world.

Providing answers to the world’s woes is not what “Lambs” is about. Redford is taking the all-guns-blazing route, pushing the viewer to navigate politics, even media as a whole, for themselves. Perhaps this leads “Lions for Lambs” into areas of pure cartoon, but I was enchanted with the film’s gung-ho sensibility and craving for change.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=16774&reviewer=404
originally posted: 11/09/07 02:51:13
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User Comments

12/21/09 mr.mike I don't agree with it's politics but Redford keeps it from being overly stagy. 3 stars
2/04/09 Faraz J I likde Redford and Cruise. But the movie wa too much talkie talkie. Here to have fun dude. 1 stars
11/21/08 PAUL SHORTT HOWEVER WELL MEANING, THIS POWERHOUSE CAST FILM FALLS FLAT 2 stars
4/06/08 Arcane Excellent movie. Excellent acting. Should be watched. 5 stars
1/25/08 Gretchen Seitz Cruise's accidental portrayal of unintended protagonist can't save film from endinglessness 2 stars
1/24/08 Courtney (almost as bad as tennis elbow) Unappealing leftist propaganda masquerades as war suspense film until lack-of-ending. 2 stars
1/07/08 Double M Mr. Redford, the "wtf-is-a-debate?" crowd wants The Patriot. Make dumb blockbusters instead 4 stars
11/28/07 Abhishek Chakraborty Damit. I wasted my money seeing this film. I wish I'd read efilmcritic first 2 stars
11/24/07 LABELESS worthseeing. Redford is a much needed voice 5 stars
11/18/07 WillReadmore One election didn't fix everything. So don't vote? GenX=wimp. 4 stars
11/14/07 deidre It was intense and if the viewer was not mentally lazy had very healthy messages 4 stars
11/14/07 Joe Smaltz I'm already anti-war, the movie draged, and was very predictable. Needed some tobasco. 3 stars
11/13/07 Hotshot This film sucks ass! Don't waste your money... 1 stars
11/13/07 D If i want to be preached to I will go to church! 1 stars
11/13/07 Naurto No, it's more like you have to be a really dull person to "get" the film. 1 stars
11/13/07 JHensley This was an excellent film. If you don't get it, you're the problem. 4 stars
11/12/07 Debra Sine I am democrat, however, I still love my Country. Save your money. 1 stars
11/12/07 cbid So much wasted potential with this movie's theme. Hollywood writers should stay on stike 3 stars
11/12/07 Lou Redford is a bore, Cruise is a fool 1 stars
11/12/07 Neddymac Provocativismo! Bravo for the thought stimulation! 5 stars
11/11/07 Eva I guess you have to be over 40 to 'get' the film 5 stars
11/11/07 Realist No one wants to see a movie portraying out military as a bumch of losers. 1 stars
11/11/07 DonnyM What a joke film. 1 stars
11/09/07 Chugger This blows so hard and I'm a Democrat 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  09-Nov-2007 (R)
  DVD: 08-Apr-2008

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