Lions for Lambs Robert Redford

Lions for Lambs Robert Redford
Three inter-cut stories paint a larger picture about U.S. foreign policy and the war in Iraq. In one vignette, a leftwing reporter (Meryl Streep) sits uncomfortably in a congressman’s (Tom Cruise) office as he outlines his new "solution” to the war on terror. In the second, an earnest professor (Redford) tries to get to the bottom of why one of his brightest students has lost his passion for politics. In the third, two young soldiers are stranded on a snowy ridge in Afghanistan, surrounded by the enemy while waiting for a rescue plane that just can’t come soon enough. Slowly, as the critique of America’s current political situation comes into sharper relief, the links between the three tales become more and more apparent, until we realise we’re watching the same story from three different angles. The acting here’s impeccable, the script is clever and well researched, and the point the film is ultimately trying to make is a good one. However, something about films like these makes me uncomfortable. They offer a frank, honest and incisive critique of the government’s misdeeds and the public’s apathy. It feels sort of like it should be subversive in some way but it lacks the heart to get that across. I know this isn’t exactly revolutionary art but should films like this be so… easy to digest? Shouldn’t they jolt us out of our complacency instead of making us feel reassured that we "get” how the world really works? The film draws parallels between Vietnam and Iraq several times, and I can’t help but feel like the major difference between the two eras is that a film like this might have been made with the intent to shock or disturb back then. There’s a director’s commentary, an interesting "making of” featurette and lots of interview footage of Redford and the film’s writer, Matthew Michael Carnahan. He sure did a lot of research to write that script! (MGM/UA)