Lions for Lambs (Robert Redford) 2007

Production Budget: $35 million
Worldwide Gross: $63 million

Even though it seems like it made money, The New York Times reported Lions for Lambs lost $50 million dollars.  LfL has three different storylines.  One is about a college professor (played by Robert Redford) trying to reach out to a brilliant but disillusioned student in his class.  The second is about two soldiers (and former students of Redford’s character) who are stuck on a cliff during the most recent military operation being drafted by Senator Jasper (played by Cruise).  The third story is Cruise selling this new Afghanistan strategy to a reporter played by Meryl Streep.

Alot of the negative press for this movie was that it was a 90 minute liberal rant.  While the politics of it do skew to the left side, I don’t think the problem with the movie is that.  The problem is that Redford is juggling too many balls and is not up to the task to keep them all up in the air.

The story about the two soldiers in Afghanistan is just weak.  It is a limp attempt at adding action and drawing out emotions for fallen soldiers.  There really is nothing to it and it just feels like a waste of time.

Next we have the Tom Cruise storyline.  This is where we get most of the left wing punches being thrown.  But as I said before, Redford is punching at so much that he is swinging wildly.  And it is all stuff we have heard a million times before; the media is feeble, the reasons we got into Iraq were false, we have made so many mistakes in our occupation, etc.  That’s just it though, he just brings up those issues.  Redford does nothing as to what we should do, who is really at fault, or how to avoid something like this in the future.  It ends up being a big waste of time because nothing new is really uncovered and we not given any fresh insight or philosophies on what we should be doing.

What really saved this movie from being a total waste of time was the storyline with Redford and it really made me depressed that he didn’t make this into a whole movie.  It also seems that this is where Redford had the most passion and put most of his creative writing into.  I really would like to have seen a full movie about a college professor trying to inspire a class who is completely apathetic about American politics today.  The moral of this story is also universal and not restricted to left wing or right wing thinking.  Basically its better to try something than to sit by apathetically and b*tch about the state of the world while doing nothing.  Ordinary People showed that Redford’s strength as a director is in domestic life and in quiet introspection.  I think that is why the professor’s one on one meeting feels so much more natural and is written so much better than the war story and the Senator’s story.

Overall, its not a horrible movie.  I really did like the Redford storyline.  The rest of the movie suffers the problem of being too schizophrenic and poorly executed.  So while its not good, I don’t think its as BAD as others painted it to be.

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