This one left a big impact on me. What a great title, which is explained during the film. The movie is all about the script, which is smart and sophisticated, a very rare thing these days in Hollywood. Full of memorable quotes, don’t believe all the bad reviews of this underrated film, I think negative opinions may have snowballed among reviewers, as sometimes happens. Along with Fahrenheit 9/11, this to me is among the most thoughtful releases on the recent Afghanistan/Iraq war.
Not a traditional war film, it dares to be different. Some disliked the long dialogue scenes, I loved them. The one-on-one scenes with Meryl Streep & Tom Cruise, as well as mentor/student scenes with Robert Redford and Andrew Garfield were the highlights for me.
Not a perfect film by any means, I disliked the score, they may have cut the costs in this area with all the acting talent present.
The war scenes at night were forgettable, I never got a feeling of the atmosphere in Iraq/Afghanistan. Again the budget may not have allowed for expensive battle scenes. But this didn’t matter to me, as the film had something to say on an intellectual level more than an action level.
The film is almost like a run-through or summary of critical comments towards the Bush administration, how the US government handled the problems they faced such as naively talking about victory and winning. Or justifying war in Iraq on 9/11. How politicians make decisions sitting comfortably in air-conditioned offices.
I guess you could argue the filmmakers are also, in a way, detached from the real battles. And in this case have a morally questionable agenda of making money at the box office, but at least they are trying to understand and make people think.
Streep plays a journalist, Cruise a power-seeking senator. Streep has some of the best lines such as asking Cruise:
“can you give me just one example of the enemy having learned a lesson.”So with quotes like this, the film I would say is a political picture, which is not afraid to take a standpoint. But we do hear each side defend themselves, which is good. Although I would have liked Cruise’s character to have stronger opinions or answers to the critique.
At the same time it’s also critical of the press, who in some cases sacrifice their integrity for profits and ratings.
Although arguably Redford as a director has had a few misfires, did anyone like Bagger Vance?, I still think he is a talented and underrated director. People seldom mention his name when talking about good directors in the last 30 years. ‘Ordinary people’ was a powerful debut.
Lions for lambs is my 2nd favourite of his, an important film, which I give 8/10. A film which can spark a debate, although not offering many solutions. If you want an action-packed movie set in Iraq, go rent 'The Hurt Locker' instead.
Do you agree with the critics that it was bad, or did you like this movie?