Lions for Lambs

‘Do you want to win the war on terror? Yes or No?’

We watched Lions for Lambs on DVD last night and I’m so glad we did.  It was one of those movies that I saw trailed and though about going to see but never got round to so when I saw it in the supermarket last night it found its way into my basket.

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Lions for Lambs is an intelligent examination of the war on terror, telling three connected stories in real time.

The first story is that of a bright, ambitions senator (Tom Cruise) who has a plan to win the war in Afghanistan and needs a journalist (Meryl Streep) to sell it for him.  Their discussion is all about the failure of the strategists to learn from the past, and the media’s complicity in the war on terror.

The second story sees a professor of political science (Robert Redford) engaged in a fascinating conversation with a bright student who is cruising and having fun, wasting his talent and ability.

The final story is about two of Redford’s previous students who have signed up to the army and are at the front line of the Senator’s plan.

This is a complex and engaging film with lots of questions and no answers.  It asks us to think about engagement.  How do we engage with the world?  How do we engage with the political process?  How do we engage with life?  Do we say that it is someone else’s problem?  Do we believe everything we see and read?

The film made me think of the current US elections where McCain is busy defending Obama while his running mate Palin is busy making all kinds of accusations at the same time.  McCain looks decent and generous but the mud thrown at Obama sticks.

It made me think about how parents want a better life for their kids but that better life isn’t for their kids to sit around being amused and entertained, it is to make life better for other’s kids.

It made me think.  That has to be a good thing.  I wonder if it will make me act?

2 thoughts on “Lions for Lambs”

  1. I saw this when it was out in the cinema and thought it was terrific. Keep meaning to watch it again. However, it does remind me of the strange pingpong game in the first presidential debate when they spent the second half ‘discussing’ Afghanistan, Iraq and the “war on terror”. You hit on one of the reasons I loved this film – there were no answers.

  2. Agree with you. I really got into this film too, as I have most films that have been tackling these complex issues (Syriana, Babel, Rendition, etc.). I’m saddened that they have not done well at the box office (solely as that makes other similarly thoughtful films less likely to be made), but thank the film makers for their commitment to the cause of pursuing justice and truth.

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