Wednesday, 24 October 2007

LFF: Lions For Lambs

Directed by and co-starring Robert Redford, the preachy and wordy Lions For Lambs marked its world premiere in London on Monday with an appearance from both the Sundance Kid and Tom Cruise who spent much less time working the crowds outside the cinema than normal. As for the film itself, it’s a dull, talky piece of political grandstanding that, while intended to bash Bush — and clearly ascribing to Redford’s liberal tendencies — also tries to appease the other side too, having its “characters” represent the differing sections of the “war on terror” debate and allowing them time to espouse their varying viewpoints. Some might call it balanced, others a case of the film trying to have its cake and eating it too. (Time Out suggested it should be retitled Politics For Dummies which made me laugh.) And so we have Cruise turning on the charm as the hot shot young Republican Senator giving some one-on-one interview time to Meryl Streep’s unconvincing TV reporter to talk up a new, more aggressive military policy in Afghanistan. A policy that’s playing out as they speak with US soldiers Michael Pena and Derek Luke trapped on a snow-capped Afghan ridge with enemy troops closing in. Meanwhile, Redford’s laidback Californian university professor — who, we discover, once taught Pena and Luke — has called in one of his current (and most promising) students Todd (Andrew Garfield) for an early morning chat in an effort to rouse him from his world of privileged (political) apathy. Written by Matthew Michael Carnahan, scripter of The Kingdom, Lions For Lambs is far too self-important and muddled to really convince, and apart from the odd moment in the Cruise/Streep tete-a-tete, none of the intended verbal sparring truly sparks, the film coming across as a heavy-handed lecture that will, most likely, send audiences to sleep rather than stimulate debate.

5 comments:

Gerard said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gerard said...

REDUX: [Forgive me, I just picked up on a rather ridiculous typo after posting. Meanwhile...]

You've just confirmed every suspicion I've had since first viewing the trailer for this.

Which is a shame. Really.

In other news, Australia gets The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford next week (Nov. 1st) and you'd better believe I am jazzed.

In further news, TAOJJBTCRF (...that's fun to try to pronounce; give it a crack in your worst South African accent...) co-score composer Nick Cave is back in Aus touring his Grinderman lineup, and hell, if you're at all a fan and get the chance to check them out, do so. They tore the f-ing roof off the place.

Mark Salisbury said...

Enjoy. It's majestic.

Schmid4Brains said...

i remember seeing the trailer for this movie in the theater and, after a brief pause just before the start of the next trailer, shouted "BOOOOOOOORING". (yeah, i'm one of those people who need to audibly communicate my thoughts on coming attractions to everyone in the theater b/c i think i'm funny.) i think you were a little too light on the critique. i would have used "verbose" instead of "wordy". and i got that just from seeing the trailer. sorry you had to sit through the whole thing.

Mark Salisbury said...

It's funny, I had verbose in an earlier draft — not sure why I took it out, cos it's definitely that.

The only up side is that the film's short. 90 minutes or thereabouts. Any longer and I would have seriously been climbing the walls...