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Lions for Lambs


Stars: Robert Redford, Meryl Streep, Tom Cruise, Derek Luke, Michael Pena, Andrew Garfield, Peter Berg

Director: Robert Redford

That old campaigner Ken Loach will love this one. As senator Tom Cruise says to veteran journalist Meryl Streep during their one-hour interview: 'Here we are having a high-minded debate about war and policy.' And that's exactly what Robert Redford's film is: a polemic that not so much wears its heart on its sleeve as hurls it at the audience.

There are pretty much only three scenes: the Streep-Cruise duologue, well enough acted, but stuffy, stilted and unpersuasive; Redford himself as a college prof trying to convince a wavering student (Garfield) to make something of his life; and two of Redford's former students (Luke, Pena), now soldiers trapped by enemy fire in Afghanistan.

Cruise expostulates about his 'new plan for Afghanistan, to win the war and the hearts and minds' of the people, but Streep sees its weaknesses (and Cruise's ambitions) in a story she'd like to write but knows she never can. It's an angry but immobile film (though crisply photographed by Philippe Rousselot) that can't even resist showing us a cemetery with thousands of crosses at the end.

David Quinlan

USA 2007. UK Distributor: 20th Century Fox (MGM/United Artists). Colour by deluxe.
92 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 09 Nov 2007