Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Lions for Lambs

Last Friday, I went to see a late showing of Lions for Lambs, the new Robert Redford movie about the current war on terrorism. I went into the theater excited to see the film, but I was somewhat disappointed, even though the movie was definitely better than the current selection available at our neighborhood theater (Christmas movies in early November). I was, perhaps, looking for something more controversial and thought-provoking. However, these feelings are slightly unjust: the war and conflict overseas isn’t a black and white issue, and because of all the differing opinions, the only clear fact is that the war affects us all, more than some Americans would like to admit.

The most interesting aspect of the film (even though it becomes irritating) is that it takes place in three locations—an idyllic West-Coast university in California, a rising senator’s office in D.C., and the front lines of fighting in the mountainous regions of Afghanistan—with the events unfolding simultaneously in real-time. A good concept, but the delivery was off-putting, and felt a little tacky (even with the heavyweight cast).

I write about this today because the movie, even with its flaws, touches upon a critical part of what I’m doing: the role of the media in the current war on terror. Meryl Streep’s journalist character scores an important interview with a popular Republican senator, who informs her of his latest military plans for Afghanistan. Fearful of her own motives and reporting, especially within the past six years, she starts question herself. What happens next with her character isn’t surprising, but the film’s conclusion ought to be remembered anyways: there is much more to the news we hear and read about, always.

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