Lions for Lambs Review and Blu-ray Features
Lions for Lambs
9 November 2007
Behind the Scene and other Major Plot Points
Robert Redford’s body of work
In an interview to the Variety magazine, Tom Cruise said he had made the film out of deep respect for Robert Redford’s body of work, which he said had inspired him sinceOrdinary People (1980).
I liked it alot
Covered many angles of modern society and politics. Good performances and didn’t push messages on the audience. It let you think for yourself just as the Redford character wanted
I agree. I too enjoyed it. It wasn’t overly preachy and showed many sides.
This movie basically sums up the Afghanistan/Iraq War
I don’t think any other movie out there did as good of a job as this one. Just saying. It didn’t glorify or condemn the War. In the end, we’re left just sitting there, just like we are now. What did we accomplish? What should we do now? Ohhhhhh, American Idle is on.
I think that’s why I despised the film so much: its unwillingness to take a stand. The Iraq War was and remains a grotesque obscenity in the history of US foreign policy, on par with Vietnam (though not quite as many casualties). Redford’s film comes off as politely liberal, something the Democratic Party itself could have concocted. Though it consists of supposedly “questioning” our post-9/11 military adventurism, it never questions the underlying premise of the dubious “War on Terror” and true foreign policy goals which made Afghanistan and Iraq (and, by extension, Libya, Syria, Ukraine) possible.
Yeah, but that’s exactly the point. We as Americans, the majority of us did not take a stand with this war.
Now I want to be crystal clear here …. Big difference between wanting to take a stand on the war and supporting our troops.
If you ask any American “should we support our troops?” — in this day and age 99.9% would said yes.
If you ask that same group of people, especially knowing what we know now, and after seeing what we’ve seen over the past decade, plus of fighting, “would you support the war in Afghanastan/Iraq?” — I bet you would get a majority of answers which started to seem like the person had a clear stance … But then ended with a shoulder shrug and “I don’t know.”
We didn’t know then (but we kinda knew right … But hell, we were just attacked, so who cares) and we still don’t know now (but we kinda do, but not really, and we were attacked, but we had to do something right? But should we have done something else? And this war was about defending freedom, for sure, right? Not oil. Not setting up business ventures. Freedom right?)
What does the title mean?
What does the film’s title “Lions for Lambs” mean?
Who are the lions? US special forces?
Who are the lambs? the Afghanis?
Or is it a play on “lions will lay down with lambs”?
None of the above seems quite right.
What is the meaning of the title – Lions for Lambs?
And, what is the deeper meaning?
I think the title is a reference to that famous World War One line of lions led by donkeys
When Redford is talking to the students to convince them not to enlist he references the German soldiers in WWI and their admiration for British soldiers but not their officers.
“An Irish newspaper claimed that “The name of the film is derived from a remark made by a German officer during World War I, comparing British soldiers’ bravery with the calculated criminality of their commanders”. While several reviewers in the UK have criticized the film for misquoting the commonly used phrase of “lions led by donkeys”, in an article written for The Times on the origin of the title, Brian Dimuccio and Dino Vindeni claimed that:
One such composition included the observation, ‘Nowhere have I seen such Lions led by such Lambs.’ While the exact provenance of this quotation has been lost to history, most experts agree it was written during the Battle of the Somme, one of the bloodiest clashes in modern warfare. While some military archivists credit the author as an anonymous infantryman, others argue that the source was none other than General Max von Gallwitz, Supreme Commander of the German forces. In either case, it is generally accepted to be a derivation of Alexander the Great’s proclamation, ‘I am never afraid of an army of Lions led into battle by a Lamb. I fear more the army of Lambs who have a Lion to lead them.
Though Lions for Lambs was the first United Artists venture since Cruise and Paula Wagner attained control, executives billed the film as a “Robert Redford vehicle.” Filming began on January 29, 2007, and Redford considered the movie “the tightest schedule I’ve ever worked with,” with barely a year between announcement and release.
“lions led by donkeys” – in a vernacular that might resonate more with some of us today, we might say: “Lions led by jackasses”.
Still, it seems a little awkward to equate “Lions for Lambs” to Lions led by jackasses.
But, I suppose? that is what the anti-war production was aiming for?
Yes, I see that there is an “attempt” at even-handedness in this movie, but the over-all makeup of the production cast, crew, etc – gives us a pretty good clue about the movie’s real agenda.
A Hollywood sentiment of “We support the troops” (but not their leaders / not the mission).
And, since I can’t seem to help myself, I believe we are at a very dangerous crossroads; the verge of nuclear war.
Regardless of where anyone may be politically – it seems clear to me (based on statements long coming from Iran, that they are determined to have nuclear bombs (and inter-continental ballistic missiles to deliver them – inter-continentally.).
On the lead up to WWII – Hitler’s raving fanatical threats of war should not have been ignored. But, many people chose to stick their heads in the sand; to close their eyes to reality. And then there was war; horrible war – made all the worse because of appeasement.
The current American president’s approach toward Iran seems more about appeasement (comparable to Neville Chamberlain’s “Appeasement Foreign Policy”
While the current administration attempts to make nice with Iran, it downsizes the USA military and all but guarantees a nuclear arms race in the Middle East (in the absence of strong leadership from the USA) and the use of those weapons in a very short few years; a perfect nuclear storm is in the making.
Obama is gambling that he will be out of office before the first nuclear explosion – thus he will claim indemnity; didn’t happen on his watch.
Ironically, what the wiki quote suggests as the true origin of this quote seems most appropriate:
“it is generally accepted to be a derivation of Alexander the Great’s proclamation, ‘I am never afraid of an army of Lions led into battle by a Lamb. I fear more the army of Lambs who have a Lion to lead them.’
Tragically for the human race – the “exceptional” USA; leader of the free world – is being led by a lamb
RT/Meta Critic Review
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. Separate stories connected by a common theme telling a story from different perspectives made the movie relevant to political discussions about American policies and ideas of war. The movie also does the best job showing the price of war with the great lives sacrificed often for unjust reasons.(Thomas Johnston/RT)
Presented in 1080p utilizing the AVC codec (at an average bitrate of 33Mbps), Lions for Lambs has a reasonably proficient transfer of occasionally difficult source material. Fine object detail rarely approaches the precision of the best Blu-ray has to offer, but considering this was filmed with a Panavision 35 mm camera, I’d imagine it was cinematographer Philipe Rousselot’s intention to give the interior, dialogue-driven sequences a smooth film-like appearance. Color holds up well in the daytime sequences, though they tend to exhibit a mild degree of sun-drenched bleaching from the open blinds of the windows. Another likely by-product of the bright sunlight, is the appearance of an annoying blue band across the lower section of the screen when the Senator is sitting behind his desk. This is a shame, since the appearance draws your attention away from the groundwork dialogue between Streep and Cruise. Moving on, nighttime shots are the primary problematic aspect of the transfer. From the instant Arian and Ernest end up on the snowy plateau in Afghanistan, we’re exposed to blizzard conditions and a complete lack of light. During these sequences, the foreground shows a wonderful level of detail and above average contrast. However, the background of these scenes tends to become muddled with splotches of undifferentiated blues and blacks. It was a problem that became distracting at times (especially when your looking for the approaching terrorists to arrive at any moment from behind the surrounding boulders) and places a slight stain on what is otherwise a decent presentation.
The primary audio offering on the disc is a DTS-HD MA 5.1 track in the native language of English. For some reason, I don’t recall the audio standing out this much on my initial viewing of the film back when it was released on DVD. I recall the dialogue-heavy aspects of the production, but the action sequences certainly didn’t leave me with the same impression I had after listening to this on Blu-ray. From the crisp pop of gunfire, to the twirling blades of a helicopter passing overhead, I was sufficiently impressed with the level of spatial separation among the surround channels and the aggressive use of the LFE channel from time to time. This still won’t rival the best action films, but gives the scenes in Afghanistan an element of peril that would otherwise be absent without such a robust mix. Additionally, dialogue and background music are afforded an appropriate volume balance next to the action sequences, so you won’t find yourself grasping for the remote during scene transitions. Overall, fans should be extremely happy with the audio track on this release.
The Making of Lions for Lambs (1080i, Dolby Digital 2.0, 20:53 min): Delving behind the scenes, this intriguing featurette focuses more on the themes from the film, rather than the production itself. Even when Redford discusses the casting choices, he still references the attributes in each character that play heavily into the emotional impact of the film (thereby bringing the discussion back to a focus on the overall themes).
Script to Screen (1080i, Dolby Digital 2.0, 8:28 min): Continuing the trend of the prior supplement, this featurette discusses the story/script written by Matthew Michael Carnahan, and what drew Redford, Cruise and Streep to the production. Carnahan jumps in from time to time and provides some background on what influenced him in writing the story, and his experience working side by side with such an impressive cast and crew.
UA Legacy (480p, Dolby Digital 2.0, 6:55 min): This supplement contains clips from numerous films released by the United Artist studio since the 1930’s. I found myself wishing I could set aside an entire day to watch several of the films shown.
Rounding out the extras, we have two high-definition trailers for the film, and a director’s commentary with Robert Redford (focusing more on the story that unfolds rather than the technical aspects of his work as the director).