Carren and I watched a movie tonight. Well, we watched a DVD. We only go to the theater anymore to watch animated films (with the kids).
Tonight: Lions For Lambs
We both agreed: Robert Redford (director) hit it out of the park.
It shows four different conversations: the educator/student, the journalist/politician, the journalist/editor, and the soldier/terrorist.
All of the characterizations seemed dead on. As an educator, Redford plays a university professor trying to encourage a young smartass (Andrew Garfield) to make a choice between living the easy life and making a difference. "What is the difference between trying and failing and failing to try if they both leave you in the same place?" "At least you've tried to do something."
As a senator, Cruise plays a conservative who supports new methods and tactics for continuing to prosecute the war, because failure in the war on terror is not an option. He admits that although mistakes, costly mistakes, were made in the prosecution of the war, we can't focus on on failure, we must press on and try new ways to win.
As a journalist, Streep plays the two-faced whore to a tee. She makes reasoned arguments, and comes away from the talk with Cruise leaving the viewer to believe that she actually understood what was being said, and that she accepts at least partial culpability for selling the Iraq war to the American people--because they knew it was a ratings boon.
Of course, when she leaves the meeting and talks to her editor, her agenda--you can't trust the government to tell the truth, this war is just like Vietnam, we are sending kids to die, we need to focus on the failures of the past instead of a way ahead, etc.
Michael Pena and Derek Luke play the soldiers. Two inner-city youths who leave college, enlist to go fight. There reasoning for doing so is the MOST outstanding thing in the movie:
"The men who lead are the men who do work when there's work to be done."
The thing I took away from this powerful movie--there are all of these "dialogs" going on today. What we are doing, why we didn't do well before, whether or not the war is right and just, ad nauseam. All the while, two young men are fighting and dying on a nameless hilltop 12000 miles from home.
It's a movie about making choices, and how many just choose not to make a choice at all.
Not to be missed, the visuals during the end credit have just as much, if not more impact than the entire film.
Go rent it.