Lions for Lambs has an even lower Rotten Tomatoes rating than Fred Claus does, 30% compared to Fred’s 37%. “Never takes a genuine stand for or against anything, except to fall back on the same platitudes politicians spout,” writes our Daniel Eagan, a particular “ouch” considering the film’s tagline: “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” Anthony Lane, in classic New Yorker form, manages to work two highbrow references into a single sentence: “Sadly, unless you are Jean-Luc Godard, the sight of your characters discussing the political ethics of their own actions is unlikely to ravish the eye, and Lions for Lambs is most charitably described as Ibsen with helicopters.” Call me crazy, but doesn’t “Ibsen with helicopters” sound a lot cooler than Lane means it to be?
“Unlike Ibsen, [revolutionary writers] do not ask questions and then refuse to answer them. Unlike the iconoclasts, they are not content to tear down the idols and stop there. Their aim is to answer questions as well as ask them, and to provide a new order to replace an old one. Their attitude, therefore, is a positive instead of a negative one.”