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Counting Lambs

After a long, restful week off, in Massachusetts and New York, I'm back in Washington, to blog again. Last Saturday, during my vacation, I saw Robert Redford's newest movie, Lions for Lambs. As you might know, critics haven't been kind to it. Roger Ebert analogized the movie to a lecture and a radio play. In her review, Manohla Dargis, of The New York Times, wrote (or waxed?),

Those who remain shocked, shocked that elected officials, certain journalists and cosseted college students sat idly by, huffing Hummer fumes and nodding out on 24/7 infotainment (all Britney, all the time), while the administration led the charge, first into Afghanistan and then into Iraq, may find much to embrace here. Everyone else will continue to nod out or resume banging their heads against the wall in bloody frustration.

And the Financial Times delivered this underwhelming assessment: Lions for Lambs is a "lame exercise in proscenium dialectics."

What happened? How did this cast -- and crew -- go wrong? (For the record, this uncredentialed reviewer thinks they did, too). Have we tired of debating military and political maneuvering? Have we lost hold of the optimism Redford's character, a California professor, desperately wants us to have? Lions for Lambs is but another in a series of films about contemporary military and political issues.... Have you seen any of the others (Rendition, In The Valley of Elah)? Are you ready for more (Redacted)? I'm not sure I am.

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David Gura
Based in New York, David Gura is a correspondent on NPR's business desk. His stories are broadcast on NPR's newsmagazines, All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Weekend Edition, and he regularly guest hosts 1A, a co-production of NPR and WAMU.