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Noble 'folly' 'Lions for Lambs' is too preachy, critics say

November 9, 2007 |  7:42 am

"Lions for Lambs," Tom Cruise's first film for his United Artist banner, was leapt on by the critics. The talkfest starring helmer Robert Redford, Meryl Streep, and Cruise managed only a mediocre 46 score from the 25 reviews compiled by Meta Critic. The wider field of 71 surveyed at Rotten Tomatoes was even more critical coming in at only 28.

One of the better reviews was by Owen Glieberman of Entertainment Weekly who deftly described the plot: "The movie consists mostly of people sitting around rooms, usually two at a time, debating the conflict in Afghanistan, the quagmire of Iraq, the arrogance (or is it stay-the-course courage?) of war-on-terror politicians, the superficiality (or is it muzzling?) of the press, and the complacency of everyone else." He gave the film a B grade, saying, "There's audacity in its attempt to seize us with nothing but a war of rhetoric. Maybe 'Lions for Lambs' wouldn't seem like such a folly in a movie culture that risked making more follies like it."

More typical of the reaction was Carina Chocano of the Los Angeles Times who thought it, "A static chamber piece in which each of the characters stalwartly represents an opposing viewpoint. 'Lions for Lambs' looks like a stage play and plays like a policy debate." And Claudia Puig of USA Today says, "It is easy to admire 'Lions for Lambs' for what it is trying to achieve, but as executed, it feels talky and medicinal. A film built around a discussion of the state of American life needs to sustain sharp dialogue. Instead, 'Lions' pontificates. Though characters make some strong points, the film feels preachy and falls flat as entertainment."