Presidential hopeful Senator Jasper Irving (Tom Cruise) calls TV journalist Janine Roth (Meryl Streep) to his Congressional office to give her an exclusive story about his new war strategy. History professor Dr Stephen Malley (Robert Redford) takes his ace student, Todd Hayes (Andrew Garfield) to task, concerned that he is not going to fulfill his potential. Dr Malley recalls two former, similarly talented students, Arian (Derek Luke) and Ernest (Michael Pena), whose debates on action and discussion led them to the battle field in Afghanistan.

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Most of the dialogue is overly verbose and the script said nothing new.

Lions for Lambs is director Robert Redford's urgent call to the American people, politicians and journalists to address the growing socio-political crisis the US. With America's reputation abroad at an all time low, the film addresses what many already know. The 'War on Terror' over the last 6 years has lost plenty of lives and has been one big PR screw up for the American Government. Unfortunately, the film comes 3 years too late. Most of the damage has already been done and the lies already exposed.

The film's narrative is linked by the revelation of an impending top-secret US military assault in Afghanistan; a revelation that unites three distinct & synchronised plots. In DC you have the world-weary journalist interviewing an ambitious senator, in California an optimistic professor tries to inspire his cynical student and in Afghanistan 2 young soldiers are desperate to act rather than talk.

There is merit in the message of this film, that to 'get engaged' and participate is far more courageous than to wallow in apathy and ignorance. But it is so forceful at times, I almost expected Michael Moore to jump out from behind a bush with a camera.

The performances vary in strength and weight. Tom Cruise as Senator Jasper Irving is no match for Meryl Streep’s journalist, Janine Roth. She infuses her role with colour, movement and detail where Cruise seemed uncomfortable and a little static. Redford as the inspired Professor and Andrew Garfield as the disillusioned student do their best to hold our attention but it is a big ask when most of their scenes are set in one tiny office. Derek Luke and Micheal as the two soldiers, were the heart of the film and personally, I found their story the most engaging.

The problem with this film is that I often felt a step ahead. Most of the dialogue is overly verbose and the script said nothing new. And with so many talking heads, Redford's shot composition and editing was probably restricted. It resulted in something that felt a bit dull. The film does comes to life in the last third and there are some moving moments but just not enough to make it the extraordinary experience you'd expect from these luminaries.

This is Robert Redford’s first foray into directing overtly political drama and the result is nowhere near as strong as many of his previous efforts.