It’s sad when you can’t wait for a film to be released, then it’s released and receives terrible reviews, but you still make the trek to the theater in the hopes that they, the critics, are wrong; then you’re hopes are crushed into a hundred pieces, not a thousand, but a hundred, which isn’t horrible, but it sure isn’t great.
Before I get ahead of myself, however, it’s important to look at what Lions for Lambs had to live up to in terms of people’s “expectations.” This comes from an article in the NY Times:
“Mr. Redford, 71, has an unwieldy set of expectations to manage with ‘Lions for Lambs,’ despite its modest budget of some $35 million. The film, which is set to open Nov. 9, is the first starring Tom Cruise since his run of bad press and his ouster from the Paramount lot last summer. It’s the first from United Artists since Mr. Cruise and his partner, Paula Wagner, took over the storied label last fall. It’s Mr. Redford’s first directorial effort since the disappointing ‘Legend of Bagger Vance’ in 2000. It will have to live up to the collective billing of its stars, who also include Mr. Redford and Meryl Streep, and whose presence has already given rise to speculation about the film’s Oscar chances.”
Those were some serious expectations, which were only increased by a great trailer. However, this film would have probably disappointed even if expectations had been low. Summarize Lions for Lambs in one word, you ask? Trite. Trite. Trite. Too much in too little time, or maybe it was too little in too much time. Both descriptions are probably accurate.
The main fault of Lions for Lambs isn’t that it lacks “edge.” In fact, the film possesses some very “edgy” parts and it does ask a very important question (seriously, I wonder if some of the critics bashing this film for being “more of the same” where even watching what I just saw).
The bad, however, outweighs the good. The most disappointing part of this film wasn’t the overall message/question, it was the dialogue. This presents a pretty big problem considering Lions for Lambs is a dialogue-driven film. It felt fake and forced, especially in terms of the conversations between Professor Stephen Malley (Redford) and his student, Todd Hayes (Andrew Garfield).
My second biggest problem with this film may be derived from the crappy dialogue and weak screenplay: Redford. I can’t believe that I am writing this, but Redford’s acting was poor, lackluster at best. Meryl Streep wasn’t much better. In fact, the only actor that didn’t disappoint was Tom Cruise and he gave an incredible performance, which in turn made everyone else look even worse.
I’ll finish with this: Lions for Lambs won’t be getting any Oscars and it won’t impress anyone beyond belief. However, Lions for Lambs does ask an important question, I just wish the question had been asked in a better way.
Lions for Lambs: 4/10
Tom Cruise: 8/10
– I’m not sure when we started rating this shit on a 1-10 scale, but I kind of like it –