Lions For Lambs (12A)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner09/11/2007

One out of Five stars
Running time: 85 mins

Tedious, preaching-to-the-converted drama with lifeless direction and a shockingly ham-fisted script.

What's it all about?
Directed by Robert Redford, Lions for Lambs stars Meryl Streep as a probing TV journalist who's granted an interview with hawkish presidential hopeful Senator Jasper Irving (Tom Cruise), as he prepares to release details of a new battle plan. Meanwhile, idealistic college professor Dr Malley (Robert Redford) attempts to reach out to a gifted but disaffected student (Andrew Garfield), whilst painfully aware that two of his former proteges (Derek Luke and Michael Peña) are currently fighting in Afghanistan.

The Good
Streep is reliably good and keeps her segment bearable, while Cruise is basically on Cruise Control, but he at least gets a work-out for his rather disturbing intensity. Redford fares less well and Garfield is just annoying, but there's strong support from Luke and Pena as the film's most likeable characters, even if their decision to fight in the war seems ridiculously out of character.

The Bad
Essentially, Lions for Lambs consists of two lengthy and increasingly tedious conversations, occasionally broken up by either a flashback (Luke and Pena shining as students) or a spot of gunfire (Luke and Pena pinned down behind enemy lines). It doesn't even have the excuse of being based on a play.

The film is shockingly preachy in tone, but this backfires horribly because the people who most need to hear the film's message (short version: War Is Bad and the government are colluding with the media in order to sell the war to the public) are not the people who'll be going to see it. As a result, the film often feels extremely patronising and it doesn't help that the character the audience is meant to identify with (Garfield) is an extremely smug and instantly dislikeable little git.

Worth seeing?
If you've read a newspaper in the last three years then there's really no need for you to see Lions For Lambs, unless you feel like being lectured by Robert Redford for 85 minutes. A whole bunch of no fun. Avoid.

Film Trailer

Lions For Lambs (12A)
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Content updated: 24/04/2019 07:42

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