Saturday, November 24, 2007

Lions for Lambs

Today Thomas woke up yearning to go to the movies. Because I never watch TV, I rarely have any idea what's playing so I went to Yahoo Movies and read out all the titles and Thomas gave me brief descriptions. He wanted to see two movies and eat lunch, yet there was really nothing playing that I was peeing in my pants about.

Finally, we agreed on Lions for Lambs at 1:05 with a mad dash for American Gangster at 2:50.

I did not want to see American Gangster at all (Denzel and his overly eager smile! It's just so wrong! I know I'm in the vast minority about this.) But I agreed to Lions for Lambs based on the interesting cast and plus, I figured I'd learn something.

Well, I did learn something. I learned what it feels like to be stripped naked and beaten to a pulp. Rarely have I been so disarmed and destroyed by a movie. A one hour and 28 minute movie, at that.

I almost hesistate to talk about it, as I haven't completely processed it, and of course, it's such a hot button subject. But Lions for Lambs is an incredibly well-written, well-acted film. Meryl Streep was flat out formidable. And I was very impressed with how Tom Cruise allowed the movie to use his rather perverse celebrity.

It's propaganda, for sure, though I haven't figured out what exactly it's propaganda for. There were times I knew I was having my strings pulled in one direction, and then moments later, a strong tug from the other. Thomas said as we drove home that it was very different from a Michael Moore film and it seems to me that it's almost the opposite of a Michael Moore film. When I watch Michael Moore movies, I inherently resist them. His level of unabashed propaganda and hate-mongering (again, I know I'm in the minority) makes me feel as if his agenda, even if it's my agenda, is inherently questionable and wrong. With Lions for Lambs, I felt as if I finally just had to give over and let it happen to me. I felt manipulated, but because I couldn't locate the source or what it wanted me to do/believe, I felt ok with it.

Never since ET (and I don't mean that to sound flippant), have I cried so hard at a movie. I'm a movie-crier; I admit it. Those of you who know me know my emotions run close to the surface. But I was sobbing: crumple-faced, breath-hitching, sobbing. What a cock up this war is, what a catch 22. There are no answers in Lions for Lambs, just the horrible explication of the myriad ways we've fucked up.

We didn't make American Gangster. I was in no kind of shape after Lions for Lambs. I don't know if I wish I'd never seen it, or if everyone should be required by law to see it.


Amanda said...

Well, with a review like that, I think I have to see it. I like seeing movies that make you feel compicated things, because what life is, and movies so rarely seem to capture that complexity.

Gina said...

The premise of the movie has interested me from the start, but I heard bad things about it.

And I have to say that I like Michael Moore. He can be a bit dramatic, but the core of his message is true.