HIgher Ground

Why doesn't Tom Cruise play more villains? With his eerily calm voice, aggresive body language and Joker-like grin, he's easily the best thing in the otherwise flawed Lions for Lambs, a well-intentioned piece of agitprop that keeps tripping on its moral superiority. Designed as a Playhouse 90-like exploration of the Iraq War, its schematic structure (three conversations happening simultaneously in three different theaters of war-- the battlefield, the Congressional office and the college classroom), speechifying dialogue and fatalistic ending overwhelm two fine performances by Robert Redford (who also directs) and Meryl Streep, and make the whole thing seem forced and smug even to someone like me, who might agree with its politics. All of that means Cruise's arrogant politician is paradoxically the most riveting thing on the screen: say what you will about his personal life, but Cruise remains an underrated actor, and his willingness to give himself over to the role, without winking or hedging, is what makes this otherwise arid exercise intermittently click.


digital_sextant said…
Have you noticed how John Barrowman, Captain Jack from Torchwood, looks a lot like TC when he smiles?
Brian Doan said…
You know, I've never seen Torchwood, but it keeps popping up on blogs, so maybe I should netflix it.

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