The first glaring problem with the film is the 88 minute runtime. Itís tough to make a three pronged political drama in 88 minutes. Heck, itíd be difficult to tell it in 188 minutes, but at least youíd have a chance. When youíre tackling tough, sensitive and controversial subjects, itís important to fully develop the topics and clearly represent yourself. Politics is too dangerous of a subject to give only a partial effort.
I donít need all movies to be wrapped in a pretty bow, but when attempting to interweave three separate stories, they have to tie together nicely. In this case, it was as if we had three short films that were broken up and then randomly spliced together. Although they touched on similar subjects, they didnít really relate. I think they could have made an entire film on one of the stories. One story explored fully is much better than three stories explored poorly.
The highlight of the film was Tom Cruise. Say what you want about his personal life but the guy can act. He was great as the charming Congressman attempting to manipulate the reporter. Conversely, the worst performance of the film was from Meryl Streep, who played the reporter. Itís rare to see a bad performance from her, but it happened here. Everyone else played their parts fine.
Iím disappointed in Redford for throwing together a hodgepodge of a film. I normally enjoy his directorial efforts, but this one was severely lacking. Heís an extremely talented filmmaker and this is not typical Redford. It almost feels like a studio exec got a hold of it and changed it around, although I donít remember hearing that had happened. However, I just couldnít shake the feeling that this film was thrown together too quickly and by someone that didnít know movies. Being a huge Redford fan, I know that he is one of the all time greats, so I donít understand what went wrong.
Making of Lions for Lambs (20:50): This is a pretty typical making-of featurette with interviews from the cast and crew. There are several movie scenes and some behind the scenes footage, but overall this is a normal fluff piece.
Script to Screen (8:25): This could have been tacked on to the above featurette since it dealt a lot with how the script was written and the different issues the script covered. Again, itís ok, but nothing special. Despite the claims, I still donít think the script writer did enough research on his source material.
There are also some Previews and a montage of United Artists films