Robert Redford’s Lions for Lambs (based on a screenplay by Matthew Michael Carnahan) is one of this year’s highly-touted "Let’s Talk About Terrorism" movies. It is a tripartite narrative juxtaposing both political and academic wrangling over the country’s foreign policy against the plight of two Army Rangers who idealistically enlisted after 9/11. As the soldiers fight for their lives in hostile territory, a politician (Tom Cruise) and a reporter (Meryl Streep) fiercely debate American foreign policy while a Poly Sci professor harangues a student eager to drop out of school to join the military.
If this sounds heavy-handed to you, just wait until you watch the trailer – which is one of the worst I’ve ever seen. Though I still have high hopes for Lions for Lambs (Redford’s routinely underrated as a director, Carnahan’s one of the hottest writers in town and the cast is undeniable), I don’t know why anyone would pay to see this movie after hearing brief snatches of moldy arguments* cut to a banally propulsive soundtrack from a random 1990s action movie. If I were Tom Cruise/United Artists, I’d yank this offline immediately and try again. This is the kind of rotten first impression that could completely kill audience interest in your movie.
Lions for Lambs hits theaters on November 9th. The trailer is right here…
*That much of what is said in this trailer is right doesn’t mean it can’t be written in a manner that isn’t thoroughly cliched.