Published Nov 09, 2007Robert Redford loves truth, justice and freedom. He may not know how to express all that with enough interest to hold an audiences attention for 90 minutes but hes a damn good man.
He knows his politics too and hes not afraid to wear his anti-war ideals on his sleeve, but his film is just too boring. Its all talk, literally; its just long conversations. He asks many questions about Americas quagmire in Iraq, important ones at that, but none of them get answered.
Dawsons Creek way, so you cant really give him an inch. Enter the third segment, in which two soldiers (Michael Peña and Derek Luke), both former students of Redfords, board a doomed chopper in Afghanistan as part of the surge Cruises senator is selling.
Its hard to smash a man of Robert Redfords prestige; it almost hurts. Hes the man, but heres what really snuffs his fire: timing, or lack thereof. Timing is everything in film, and though Lions speaks earnestly about the need for change in this war-ridden world, its merely tailing a film year rife with post-9/11 paranoia. Rendition and The Kingdom both screamed the same message: "Maybe were the problem, not the Taliban, and "The government buys the news. Okay, people need to wake up. We get it.
Its all really sharp and thought provoking but Lions misses the boat because of its time slot. One could argue that seasoned movie men like Redford know better than to release their paeans before the winter. Everyone who wants a shot at the gold statuette knows this blunt tactic. Its all about having the last word really. Redfords is an intelligent one, a long, really talky intelligent one. It just would have meant more six months ago. (MGM/UA)