“Lions For Lambs,” review by Joanna Langfield

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Do you have to be a democrat to love this political thriller? It won’t hurt. But, no matter what your politics, there’s no denying Robert Redford’s cinematic call to action is, for some very uncinematic reasons, one of the most exciting movies of the year.

Granted, there are no transforming machine-assassins in this multi-faceted look at America and its involvement in the mid-East wars. The killers here are mere men, brandishing guns and a bit of military polish. Or are they the politicians, slick and savvy, sending young people to sacrifice, in an effort to protect our own interests? Let’s not forget the journalists who, in an effort to break a story, jump for a headline and conveniently don’t ask details. Ah, but the “little guy” doesn’t get off easy here, either. Apathy is guilt, too, my friend.

Sure it’s a kick to watch three of our biggest movie stars, Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep and Redford wrap their experience around the sometimes too wordy but pointedly pissed off script. All three deliver literate and engaging performances, as do supporters Michael Pena and Derek Luke. The involvement of all, but particularly that of the biggest “names” (who could, in some circles, be thought to have the most to lose) make this passionate plea not only more fun to watch but also harder to ignore. The commitment reminds me of those gutsy, infectious movies I grew up with in the 1970’s – a questioning of the “establishment” that has been deemed by some today as un-American. But don’t get me started.

Tucked deliciously into all the philosophical back and forth is one small but much appreciated moment. As Streep argues with her boss as to whether or not they should go with a spoon-fed scoop, her face begins to flush. Threatened with losing her job, reminded of her age and the high cost of tending to her invalid mother, Steep begins to strip off her jacket. I was already laughing out loud as our accosted, conflicted heroine reaches for the office thermometer, in the throws of an out and out hot flash. Not only does Lions for Lambs fight the good fight for America’s morality, it also salutes the realities of those literally feeling the heat, at home.

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Joanna Langfield (Archived Contributor)

Her voice is heard throughout the 50 states and around the world by more than one million listeners on her syndicated radio programs: Joanna Langfield’s People Report and Video and Movie Minute. She’s also seen and heard as a regular contributing commentator on CNN International, CNN, Fox News and CNBC. In print, her articles have been published in such high profile magazines as Video Review and McCall’s. Joanna Langfield is known for taking interviews to another level with probing looks at celebrities’ insights rather than just their latest projects. As a result, she’s secured a niche among the nation’s premier interviewers and movie critics. Joanna began her career on the production staff of a local Boston television station. She then focused her energies towards radio and produced talk shows at WMEX-AM in Boston. After moving to New York, she became executive producer at WMCA-AM for talk show personalities Barry Gray and Sally Jessy Raphael. She began hosting a one-minute movie review spot which, in turn, led to her top-rated weekend call in-show, The Joanna Langfield Show (1980-83). Joanna moved to WABC-AM to host The Joanna Langfield Show on Saturday nights from 9:00pm to midnight. It was the highest rated show in its time slot. From 1987-1989, Joanna hosted Today’s People on the ABC Radio network, which was fed daily to over 300 stations around the country. She also appeared on WABC-TV as a regular on-air contributor. In 1989, Joanna formed her radio production company, Joanna Langfield Entertainment Reports, to syndicate her radio reports. She is considered to be one of the top authoritative commentators on the entertainment industry. Read Lagfield's recent articles below. For her Women On Film archive, type "Joanna Langfield" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).