Friday, November 9, 2007

Prodding the Sheeple

Lions for Lambs

Release: 11/09/2007
1 hour, 28 minutes

Matinee ($$$)

If you're like most of the populace, you've been intrigued by the trailers for this weekend's releases and you find yourself asking, "How hard up for cash was Vince Vaughn to make this crap?!" Sorry, wrong movie. “Lions for Lambs,” the much touted political "thriller," stars Meryl Streep, playing journalist Janine Roth, who interviews Tom Cruise portraying Jasper Irving, a U.S. senator with a bold new direction for the war on terror. While they converse in D.C., in California Professor Stephen Malley, played by Robert Redford, conferences with an aloof poli-sci student. Halfway across the world two American soldiers, played by Derek Luke (Pieces of April) and Michael Pe┼ła (Babel), fight to survive on the frigid slopes of the Afghan mountains. The stage is set, audience anticipation builds, and the

That’s right, the cinematic juggernauts, Redford (The Last Castle), Streep (The Manchurian Candidate) and Cruise (The Firm) deliver up an hour and a half long lecture on the state of American affairs. Through succinct and poignant exposition the three capture our attention in a quick-paced flurry of words, arguments and questions that are, or at least, should be on the very hearts and minds of every American. Funny thing is I don’t recall the intense music and dramatic cuts of the trailer alluding to any of this.

The trailer hypes an edge-of-your-seat thriller, not an extended lecture on moral obligation and indignant outrage. “Lions” lures audiences with the promise of spellbinding moments with clever twists and bloodshed…and in a way it delivers. The problem is who is listening to this cleverly disguised Sermon on the Mount? I ask this because while “Lions” was created with noble intentions, and is obviously meant for the twenty to forty-something crowd, but did anyone bother to tell us? How would the apathetic and entertainment-hungry masses know to rush out to a film starring the King of Crazy, the Ice Queen from that Prada movie, and that leathery old guy that mom thinks is really hot? The aloof university student is a nobody, and hell, I didn’t even know Derek Luke was in this until he showed up on screen. The only possible draw to us is the promised intrigue, but many moviegoers will leave feeling slighted and deceived.

Dirty Undies
It’s almost not worth mentioning but there are some too-quick-to-really-be-noticed gory moments with our valiant soldiers that occur parallel to some gruff profanity by our conversationalists.

The Money Shot
Ironically, the marketing of “Lions for Lambs” misleads the public in the same way as the orchestrators of the mishandled war that is at its subject. The real question is will the suckered audiences find themselves sitting in the drive-thru of Starbucks, cent after cent of overpriced fuel vapors rising into the air, reflecting on this film, or will they instead be tuned in to the latest outcome in the Spears-Federline custody hearings?

Large Association of Movie Blogs

1 comment:

  1. I too think the film was badly marketing, though after having seen it, I can see why. It's sold mostly on it's star power, and I'm glad the stars are there, for I fear no one would see a talky, lecture-filled film if Cruise, Streep and Redford weren't attached.

    That said, I think it's a powerful film that should be seen.