In some senses Robert Redford is the father of modern independent filmmaking, not to mention the patron saint of Hollywood liberalism – his Sundance Film Festival has launched a couple of dozen major careers, and his concern for progressive environmental policies is well known. And United Artists used to be known for making the kind of movie that entertained and provoked at the same time – from 'In the Heat of the Night' to 'Being There' to 'Rain Man'.
After a decade or more in the doldrums, the studio has been resurrected by Tom Cruise, and the first film released under this banner is the Redford-helmed 'Lions for Lambs' – a tub-thumping intellectual thriller that pits brains against brawn as a liberal university professor, a neo-conservative senator, and a smart journalist duke it out for the prize of 'who gets to direct the war on terror' - which the film shows still to be fought by the poor.
Such a film could have been a thoughtful exploration of the nature of American liberalism post-9/11, a call to action, or an intelligent treatment of the questions of how to respond to injustice without repeating it (or overcoming evil with good, as the New Testament would have it). Yet sadly it ends up a wasted opportunity - with mostly old arguments being rehearsed once more in a film whose performances are flat and is without visual interest.
There is, however, some merit in 'Lions for Lambs'...Read the rest of this post on the God's Politics blog.