Watched Lions for Lambs (released Nov 2007) on a recent long-haul flight and have to say that, although the film is clearly lacking in overall finesse, I was nonetheless interested in the political stance of the film. The film touches on lots of great points, but doesn’t manage to resolve any of them. No stance is taken in a disappointingly “politically correct” if not altogether politically accurate direction. I suppose the title in itself is some kind of stance: political leaders sending naive soldiers to their slaughter? All told, however, I enjoyed the film and it is worthy for some great acting.
Starring Robert Redford (director), Meryl Streep and Tom Cruise, this film is structured around three parts:
- A discussion between a disenchanted student and a philosophizing professor (Redford).
- An interview between an anti-war journalist (Streep) and a US Republican Senator (Cruise) who admits Administration mistakes all the while justifying the latest military push (small parties taking “forward points”) in Afghanistan (check out realpolitik)…
- Two university students (one black, the other Hispanic) who abandon the university (at which Redford is teaching) to join the Army Rangers and end up trying to take one of these advanced points in hostile territory. [I don’t want to spoil the plot].
The film brings up a number of real issues in the US (but without any solutions) including the latent disinterest in politics (low voter turnout), the sordid economics of journalism, the ineffectiveness of the American high school system (cultural and literal illiteracy); obesity… Film, like any art, is a reflection of society rather than the premise for change. As such it is in its right to flag the problems. If only it could help mobilize the country on these costly imperfections with some call to action… The film’s dedicated site does ask the question: what do you stand for? Why not! (Happiness was my answer.) More interestingly, the site embarks on a web 2.0 journey replete with a community, a quiz and a YouTube video. Obviously, new age marketing has gone mainstream in Hollywood.
Meanwhile, the film features one interesting “solution” to the geographical illiteracy: encourage juniors at University to take the year off to go abroad (much like the Gap Year in England which makes more sense as it does not break up the academic cycle).
And my favourite idea out of the film: giving clean needles to junkies is like creating a special lane for drunk drivers.
Anyone else see the film and like to comment, please don’t be shy (as a lamb)!?
Want to read more critics? Algo en español desde Mexico: Goldfinger Blog. And here, the thumbs down from Maximovie Review.