Lions for Lambs (and Robert Redford in general)

I was sick a few weeks ago (damn you, tonsils!) and decided to improve my general mood by having a Robert Redfest! Over the course of a weekend I watched six films starring Mr Redford, who is one of my all time favourite movie stars. All The President’s Men would definitely make it into my top ten films and I have seen it easily a dozen times. It tells the true story of the two journalists who broke the Watergate story for the Washington Post and is a nailbiting thriller.

I then watched The Great Gatsby in which Redford is perfectly cast as Jay Gatsby and The Sting, a brilliantly clever comedy caper also starring Paul Newman. Next up was The Way We Were, a classic romantic weepie from the 70s co-starring Barbra Streisand. I can’t stand Streisand and generally end up shouting at the screen when watching this film as her character drives me mad but Redford is so dreamy (no other word will do) throughout that it makes up for the endless nasality that is Babs.

I also rented Brubaker and Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid neither of which I’d seen before. Brubaker is good but not good enough to watch again. It tells the story of a prison warden who attempts to reform one of the worst prisons in America and is based on the true story of Thomas Morton. Of course Butch Cassidy is a classic and I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish.

Let’s take a moment and see exactly why Mr. Redford would make a sick girl feel better:

The Great Gatsby
The Way We Were
All The President’s Men
The Sting

OK the drooling portion of this post is over…

I was in Laser recently and in a thriller frame of mind. One of the guys in there recommended Lions for Lambs, a 2007 movie starring Redford, Meryl Streep and Tom Cruise and directed by Redford. The movie weaves three interrelated narratives together. The first follows news reporter Janine Roth (played by Streep) as she is given the luxury of an entire hour to interview Senator Jasper Irving (played by Cruise), a Republican who has created a new strategy to deal with insurgents in Afghanistan which he hopes will turn the tide in the War on Terror.

The second plot strand follows Professor Stephen Malley (played by Redford) as he has a meeting with one of his political science students Todd Hayes (played by Andrew Garfield) who is bright and privileged but apathetic. The third narrative follows two former students of Malley’s, Arian and Ernest, who take the decision to enlist in the army to fight in Afghanistan, believing that the only way to change the system is from the inside.

The film received mostly terrible reviews which surprised me. I enjoyed it immensely, especially the dialogue which I thought was miles above average for a star-laden film. Streep, always excellent, is perfect for the role of a jaded yet incisive hard news reporter, and I thought Cruise was well cast as the smarmy, pompous and dislikable Senator who cares more about the race to the White House than the lives sacrificed to get there. While the movie may not be groundbreaking in the views that it puts forward, it involved more thought than most Hollywood blockbusters.


I know it’s a blockbuster of a post but perhaps it might encourage you to check out Redford’s many brilliant films! Enjoy.


13 thoughts on “Lions for Lambs (and Robert Redford in general)

  1. Alex, I love your blog. I happened upon it as I was looking up stuff for something I was posting something related to Robert Redford in “The Great Gatsby.” I totally agree, he is one of the greats.

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