Friday, April 4, 2008

Lions for Lambs DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Robert Redford’s Preachy Anti-War Drama Released on DVD

Directed by Robert Redford, Lions for Lambs is a preachy, anti-Bush polemic which repeatedly advances talking points lifted right out of the liberal playbook. Despite several parallel plotlines and dizzying editing designed to suggest a diversity of opinions, the truth is that the picture is essentially advancing only one point-of-view.
In 25 words or more, the movie seems to be making the point that: “The War on Terror is really over oil and was orchestrated by greedy, power-hungry right-wing neo-cons who’ve used patriotic buzzwords like ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ as a smokescreen to dupe idealistic poor kids into enlisting in a military with a disproportionate percentage of minorities in its ranks.”
Even if you agree with that message, you are unlikely to appreciate the ham-fisted fashion in which this flick forces it down your throat.
Redford himself stars as pontificating Professor Stephen Malley, a Vietnam vet who prods his pupils to make the most of their lives. Something in his sermonizing inspires a couple of minority students (Derek Luke and Michael Pena) to enlist to serve on the front lines in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the classroom remains filled with lazy white guys like Todd (Andrew Garfield), a party animal who could care less about either politics or academics.
The story then abruptly shifts to the Middle East where the soldiers soon land in a prickly predicament when their helicopter is ambushed by the Taliban while on a mission in the mountains. Another scenario unfolds in Washington, D.C., and pits veteran investigative reporter Janine Roth (Meryl Streep) against U.S. Senator Jasper Irving (Tom Cruise). She sees straight through the transparent Republican’s self-serving spin about the goings-on in Afghanistan and refuses to be used as a pawn to propagate a pack of lies.
A simplistic, if well-intentioned, overindulgence in obviousms.

Fair (1 star)
Rated R for profanity and violence.
Running time: 92 minutes
Studio: Fox Home Entertainment
DVD Extras: Director’s commentary, several featurettes, previews, and the theatrical teaser and trailer.

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