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"LIONS FOR LAMBS"
(2007) (Robert Redford, Meryl Streep) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Minor Heavy Heavy Moderate Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild Minor Minor None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Mild None None Heavy Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: As a TV reporter interviews a rising U.S. Senator, his latest military plan has already been implemented, leaving two U.S. soldiers stranded in Afghanistan and their former college professor concerned about their well-being, all as he tries to steer a promising student in what he thinks is the right direction.
PLOT:
Janine Roth (MERYL STREEP) is a veteran TV reporter who's arrived in the Washington, DC office of U.S. Senator Jasper Irving (TOM CRUISE) to do a detailed timeline story of the war on terrorism. She's an unabashed liberal and his views are decidedly conservative, especially when it comes to foreign policy. While he admits there have been mistakes and failures, he believes the latest military strategy will be far more successful, while Janine has her doubts, drawing comparisons to the same promises occurring back in Vietnam.

As their heated but polite interview continues, the military maneuvers have already been set in place. Yet, when a U.S. chopper takes enemy fire in Afghanistan, two soldiers and longtime friends -- Ernest Rodriguez (MICHAEL PEŅA) and Arian Finch (DEREK LUKE) -- end up stranded in the snowy mountains. With their commander, Lt. Col. Falco (PETER BERG), doing what he can to get them out of there, the two young men must contend with being injured and surrounded by approaching enemy forces.

Although he doesn't know about their immediate predicament, Professor Stephen Malley (ROBERT REDFORD) is concerned about their well-being, as they're former students of his that showed great promise, but shocked everyone by unexpectedly enlisting in the military. A Vietnam vet, Stephen knows all too well about what it's like, a point among many he tries to drive into current student Todd Hayes (ANDREW GARFIELD). He's a smart kid apathetic regarding class attendance, and bitter about political science, and much of the rest of the world.

As Stephen tries to point Todd in what he thinks is the right direction, the two soldiers do what they can to survive, all as Jasper assures Janine that his latest plan is going to work, with his only need being for her to drum up public support for it.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Teens interested in the topical matters might be interested, as might fans of anyone in the cast. Beyond that, it doesn't seem too likely.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For some war violence and language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • ROBERT REDFORD plays a college professor who doesn't want his student Todd to make ill-informed choices, which is what he thinks about past students Ernest and Arian joining the military. Although his message is clear, he pretends to simply offer advice and thought-provoking questions. He uses profanity.
  • MERYL STREEP plays a veteran TV reporter who lets her liberal beliefs pervade her questioning of Senator Irving. She uses some profanity.
  • TOM CRUISE plays a rising conservative senator who tries to convince Janine in an interview that the latest military strategy will succeed.
  • MICHAEL PEŅA and DEREK LUKE play two idealistic men who've joined the military to serve their country, but find themselves isolated and penned down by enemy forces in Afghanistan.
  • ANDREW GARFIELD plays Stephen's promising student who doesn't show up for class and debates his professor on a variety of subjects, all showing his indifference and/or bitterness toward all of that. He uses strong profanity.
  • PETER BERG plays the military commander who sends Ernest and Arian on their mission, and then tries to keep them safe from approaching enemy forces. He uses strong profanity.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a quick look at the content found in this R-rated drama. Profanity consists of at least 11 "f" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. Brief, sexually related dialogue is also present.

    Violence includes some war-related content, including two soldiers being shot dead, others killed or wounded by bombings, and some wounds from an attack and falling from a helicopter. All of that has varying degrees of bloodiness, while those scenes and a few moments of potential peril might be unsettling and/or suspenseful to some viewers.

    Bad attitudes are present, as are various topics to talk about. Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those concerned with bright flashes of light on the screen, there's some of that late in the film.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there are varying amounts of camera movement in the film.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • We see a beer in front of Stephen with his meal.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see blood spurt out at various point of impact gunshot wounds onboard a chopper that's taking fire.
  • We see Arian and Ernest, both bloodied and injured in the snowy mountains of Afghanistan. Arian has some blood on his face, and his leg is buried and thus stuck in the snow. Ernest is more badly wounded (a busted leg, briefly seen in the dark, where it appears we see bone and blood, while his face is also bloody and the snow around him is stained in blood, etc.), all a result of both falling from a chopper without parachutes or the like.
  • We see various bloody cuts and such on Arian and Ernest.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • About Arian's name, Todd says that must mean he's black.
  • Depending on one's political leanings, various characters may come off as having bad attitudes for their actions and/or beliefs (such as Jasper being a military hawk, Janine a liberal reporter, etc.).
  • Unidentified soldiers are portrayed as the enemy in Afghanistan (as they approach stranded U.S. soldiers with the suggested desire to kill them).
  • In a flashback, a male student gives "the finger" to Arian and Ernest in class.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Gunfire riddles an American transport helicopter, causing chaos inside as several people are hit (with some bloody results) and the chopper starts to go out of control. Some machine gun fire is returned from a gunner on the chopper, but we never see if anyone below is hit. Various RPGs then hit the chopper, causing some damage to it, while Ernest ends up falling out of the open back (with Arian jumping out after him, both without parachutes).
  • With Ernest unable to move and Arian stuck in the snow, they react as they hear voices approaching them, and Arian fires one shot, but we don't see if anyone was hit. Back at HQ, we see an aerial view (no details, just blobs representing people) that shows many forces headed their way.
  • We see another aerial view (without details, just blobs representing humans) of enemy forces continuing to approach Arian and Ernest on foot.
  • Arian (machine gun) and Ernest (handgun) fire at the unseen enemy that returns fire at them. Some shots hit in the snow near the two Americans, but we don't see if anyone on the other side is hit or not. An American plane then drops bombs onto the enemy, with the resultant explosions going off quite close to Arian and Ernest, presumably killing some of those on the other side.
  • Arian and Ernest realize they're out of ammo as enemy forces continue to advance toward them.
  • Spoiler Alert: Soldiers mow down two American soldiers with gunfire, killing them (no blood). Moments later, more bombs rain down from above, with resultant explosions, presumably killing the assailants.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Machine guns/Handguns/RPGs/Bombs from planes: Carried and/or used to threaten, wound, or kill others and/or cause some property damage. See "Violence" for details.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Time to get back in the f*cking kitchen," "Half the f*cking campus would kill for that deal," "F*ck it," "F*cked for good," "You f*cking idiot," "M*therf*cker," "How the f*ck would I know?" "Stand back while my f*cking head detonates," "F*cking tallies," "F*ck you doing up so early?" "Sure as sh*t," "No bullsh*t," "What is that sh*t?" "Pieces of sh*t," "Sh*t his pants," "Simple-minded sh*t," "Resent the sh*t out of me," "It's bullsh*t," "Dawg," "Lock 'n load," "What the hell?" "Bitch" (complain), "Turds," "I want a G*ddamn ETA," "Dumb ass," "Had to work their asses off," "Home-boy" and "A hell of a lot like..."
  • In a flashback, a male student gives "the finger" to Arian and Ernest in class.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • A military helicopter suddenly takes enemy fire.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A little bit of suspenseful music plays in a few scenes.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 11 "f" words (one used with "mother"), 18 "s" words, 2 asses, 2 damns, 2 hells, 4 uses of "G-damn," 3 of "Jesus" and 1 use each of "God," "Godforsaken," "Honest to God," "Jesus Christ" and "My God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Todd makes a sarcastic comment about being a politician while a page "jacks me off under the table."
  • A student shows a little bit of cleavage in the background of a shot.
  • We briefly see a miscellaneous, shirtless male college student.
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • None.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Jasper's philosophy that one must have a constant military presence or face constant violence.
  • Jasper drumming up the "axis of evil" mantra.
  • Janine asks Jasper if his and his party's tactics are just fear mongering.
  • Jasper stating that part of his job as a U.S. Senator is protecting American people.
  • Todd stating that there's little science in political science, and that it's only about winning, as well as that politicians are two-faced.
  • Jasper stating that small is how the military will fight now (meaning small squadrons in vital locations rather than huge contingents).
  • Jasper stating that what the terrorists need is the American taste of righteousness.
  • Jasper's military motto being it's whatever it takes to win.
  • Janine comparing the military philosophy and strategy of the Iraq war to that of Vietnam.
  • Jasper asking Janine when she became a windsock following majority opinion of the people.
  • Jasper states that the press went along with the invasion of Iraq. He then asks Janine that since she (and the media) helped sell the war, will they now help sell the solution.
  • We see a quote from a past president that states that in choosing between peace and righteousness, he'd always choose the latter.
  • Stephen's comment that it's the poor who end up fighting for their country, even when the latter overlooks them in most every other incident (except for bad things).
  • The genesis of the quote about lions and lambs, where the former were led by the latter in WWI (as observed by Germans in regards to the British military).
  • Janine stating that after a corporate buyout of her news division, it all became about money rather than news.
  • The old analogy of fiddling while Rome is burning.
  • The notion that promise and potential are fickle.
  • VIOLENCE
  • There's talk of deaths from bombings, and while we see some of the structural damage aftermath, we don't see any bodies.
  • Gunfire riddles an American transport helicopter, causing chaos inside as several people are hit (with some bloody results) and the chopper starts to go out of control. Some machine gun fire is returned from a gunner on the chopper, but we never see if anyone below is hit. Various RPGs then hit the chopper, causing some damage to it, while Ernest ends up falling out of the open back (with Arian jumping out after him, both without parachutes).
  • Arian (machine gun) and Ernest (handgun) fire at the unseen enemy that returns fire. Some shots hit in the snow near the two Americans, but we don't see if anyone on the other side is hit or not. An American plane then drops bombs onto the enemy, with the resultant explosions going off quite close to Arian and Ernest, presumably killing some of those on the other side.
  • Arian shoots one enemy soldier, and fires more shots at others (with a machine gun), as does Ernest (with a handgun).
  • Spoiler Alert: Soldiers mow down two American soldiers with gunfire, killing them (no blood). Moments later, more bombs rain down from above, with resultant explosions, presumably killing the assailants.



  • Reviewed October 25, 2007 / Posted November 9, 2007

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