Written by Hombre Divertido
Yes, Hollywood can still make dialogue-driven films that will keep you entertained for ninety-two minutes. Robert Redford stars in, directs, and co-produces, a script by Matthew Michael Carnahan that results in a well-crafted play on film that is subtle in its brilliance.
The film also features Meryl Streep and Tom Cruise as a television journalist and a senator respectively, who interact in an interview within the Senator’s office in one of three scenarios that loosely tie together to make up Lions for Lambs. Streep is engaging as the reporter who is in conflict with what to do with the information she is receiving from the Senator, and though Cruise gives a charming performance, he simply looks too young for the role.
Story two of the three features Redford as an aging but still energetic and optimistic political-science professor who engages in a debate/counseling session with a brilliant but cynical student portrayed by Andrew Garfield. Redford displays his well-honed acting chops here and still has charisma oozing from every pore, but Garfield seems intimidated and gives a forced performance in the story that takes the longest to develop and tie into the other two.
The final piece of the puzzle features Derek Luke and Michael Pena as two soldiers injured and trapped on a snowy mountain ledge in Afghanistan as Taliban forces close in. Certainly the most action filled of the three stories, and as this segment develops, the audience is left wanting for more each time we break away.
The political views displayed in this film are heavy-handed and quite possibly will turn off those with opposing perspectives, and sometimes the dialogue does seem to contain a lot of hot air, but the characters and performances are solid enough to make this an enjoyable tale to watch develop.
The details of how all these pieces come together to form this piece of art won’t be revealed here, because watching it happen is a huge part of the fun.
Recommendation: Not since Glengarry Glen Ross has a play on film been so enjoyable to watch. The performances for the most part are first rate, and it is great to see Redford at work again. Worth your money at the theatre or on DVD.