Thursday, November 15, 2007

Lions for Lambs: A Four-Sentence Movie Review

When I first saw the teaser trailer for Lions for Lambs, I was a little bit irritated because it didn't tell me much about the movie, other than Meryl Streep, Tom Cruise, and Robert Redford were in it - with Cruise asking Streep if she wants to win the war on terror and Redford scolding someone with "Rome is burning, son!  And the problem is us, all of us, who do nothing!" - and the story probably had to do something with the war in Iraq.

It turns out, however, that the trailer (again, a teaser) captured almost everything this movie is about, which is basically a 90-minute lecture by Redford (though he didn't write the screenplay) directed at three sources: the government, for getting us into this predicament and appearing to be clueless as to how to get us out of it; the media, for brainlessly selling this war to the American people without asking tougher questions and challenging those in power; and young people - perhaps college students, more specifically - for being too cynical and apathetic to affect change in this country when they're in an ideal position to do so.  But the actors most certainly sell it, especially Redford as the antagonistic, yet nurturing professor that many of us were fortunate to learn from in college, along with Cruise in a role that's perfect for him, because his character is just a little too polished, but very opinionated, and arrogant enough to think he has all the answers.

Those who prefer to go to the movies to escape that sort of stuff or just don't prefer having a finger wagged at them will probably hate this thing (and judging from the critical consensus and last weekend's box office, that's the majority opinion), but if you really liked The West Wing, and enjoyed seeing characters trading intelligent, passionate ideas and opinions, engaged in serve-and-volley dialogue that makes you think about the world we're currently living in, you might just dig it.