Lions For Lambs

What a bad movie. I can’t believe I spent $3 at the video store to rent this. None of it ran true for me. Meryl Streep plays an obnoxious reporter. With such an intrusive and obnoxious interviewing technique, she’d never last. A good interviewer doesn’t include value judgments in his questions.

The whole thing felt phony to me.

And it was too short — only 84 minutes.

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Lions For Lambs is a dialog, a debate really, about the "affairs of state" in Washington D.C. and the "state of affairs" in the Persian Gulf region. It’s 10 AM D.C. time and Janine, a local newspaper (read Washington Post) reporter, steps into the office of GOP Senator Irving for a one-on-one and on-the-record discussion about a plan to win the war in Afghanistan (read Iraq). The conversation starts, with the senator representing the conservative right and the media lady representing the liberal left. The scene changes to a West Coast university (read UC Berkley); it’s an early 7 AM and Todd arrives in the office of Dr. Malley for a career focused discussion—Todd has been skipping class. The conversation starts with the professor, advocating high ideals he encourages Todd to stand for something, make a commitment and take action. Todd, disengaged, turned off and disaffected with the world pushes back at the good professor saying he’s not going to get involved in this mess–read average U.S. citizen. It’s midnight, or thereabouts, in Afghanistan and a team of airborne troops are to occupy a frozen hilltop; Ernst and Arian run into trouble and spend the night alone. Back to Washington.

Lions For Lambs is tedious at best and mind numbing at worst, unless you’ve just arrived from another planet and never tuned in the American media circus. This film is the political equivalent of Groundhog Day (1992) where newscaster Bill Murray is forced to live the same day over and over again covering this minor holiday in Punxsutawney PA. In this film, the water torture (repetition) is the replay of all the Sunday morning political talk show babble (pro and con) from the last 4-years. Just in cast you think your side wins this one don’t bet on it, there are no winners here. A partisan in front of me clapped and hooted when the conservative took it in the shorts the first time, only to fine his liberal view was skewered next, before he could catch his breath. And so the conversation goes.

Lions For Lambs is being highly touted by the press, who don’t want to blow a ticket to the Academy Awards next year. The tragedy here is that we’ve got three fine actors without a story; it’s neither good entertainment nor serious political science. Each player reads his / her lines (literally yesterday’s newscast), there’s no story line and no emotion to engage viewers. The closest thing to artistic technique is the scene continually rotates between D.C., California and the mountaintop. I’m thinking this may be as good (read bad) as The Blair Witch Project (1999), and win my 2007 Stinker award.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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