Lions for Lambs

Rated 3.0

Director Robert Redford and writer Matthew Michael Carnahan examine the War on Terror in three parts: a meeting between a college professor (Redford) and his star pupil (Andrew Garfield); a Time Magazine reporter (Meryl Streep) interviewing a gung-ho GOP senator (Tom Cruise); and two soldiers (Michael Peña, Derek Luke) trapped behind enemy lines in Afghanistan. The script is glib on a bumper-sticker sound-bite level, and the storylines are tenuously strung together; the connection is thematic, not dramatic (the Afghan scenes seem designed to inject action and temper the feeling of a college agitprop talkfest). Performances are fervently good (except for Cruise, who clearly detests the character he’s playing; he’s laughable). Redford’s pacing is brisk; the movie is impassioned and mercifully brief.