Nov 112007

I was going to skip seeing Lions To Lambs, because I couldn’t really figure out from the trailers what the film was actually about. Thank god for boredom, because that’s what led me to see it yesterday. This movie is true storytelling in a way I’ve never before seen on film. Though I’m still not sure I can tell you what it’s about. The entire film essentially takes place in real time in three different settings all covering one powerful story.

Setting One

Tom Cruise plays a hotshot young Republican Senator who has chosen this exact moment in time to meet with Meryl Streep’s characte, a grizzled veteran reporter, to discuss the new direction in the war against terror. Streep is understandably hesitant to accept that this new direction will finally end the 6 year long war to nowhere and asks for fairly harsh questions that receive, for the most part, standard pat political answers. One of the key questions, “When does this begin?” is shockingly answered with “10 minutes ago”.

Setting Two

Derek Luke and Michael Peña play Army Rangers who are about to be dropped onto the top of a mountain in Afghanistan along with their platoon. This is the new strategy: small groups of soldiers dropped onto the high ground at various forward positions. Of course, not all goes well and our two ‘heroes’ find themselves alone and facing a very hostile enemy.

Setting Three

Political Science professor Robert Redford’s office at a prestigious California University. He’s meeting with an exceptionally promising student, Andrew Garfield, who has all but dropped out of class. Garfield’s character is the stereotypical pampered disaffected youth of today’s upper middle class America. All of the advantages and no vision of any responsibilities. Redford’s trying to ‘save’ him, by convincing him that he can ‘save’ the world if he would just a give a damn. Redford’s weapon of choice for this battle is the tale of two former exceptionally promising students who also dropped out of class – in order to join the U.S. Army Rangers in Afghanistan.

Both meetings are scheduled to last one hour, and that essentially makes up the film. I’m not really a film critic, so I’m not going to gush about the acting or direction. But the storytelling here is masterful. My only complaint is that the film is exactly two minutes too long. It should have ended with the soldier’s story instead of attempting a rather weak wrap up of the other two.

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