Robert Redford's Lions for Lambs veers between chat-tastic and chat-tastrophe, a serious talkie mostly told through two-person debates about the right and wrong of the war on terror, the role of the press and the attitudes of today's young people. Leave it to a liberal filmmaker to take on the headlock we're in in Iraq and Afghanistan, the human stranglehold the politicians have on the press, the conflicted intellectual class and the disenfranchised youth of today (both on campus and in country), and tell all sides coherently (if woodenly).Long an activist himself, Redford plays Stephen Malley, a college professor trying to impart a sense of importance to a smart young kid with potential (Andrew Garfield), while on the other side of the country, a Republican senator (Tom Cruise) is selling a new plan of war to a veteran reporter (Meryl Streep). And to put a human face on the entire thing, two of Malley's former students (Michael Peña and Derek Luke) lay bleeding in the snow on an Afghani mountaintop. Much of Lions for Lambs—excluding the firefights—might better have been served on stage, as lines of dialog end up at times sounding like hyperbole or talking points, even when they come from such crafty vets as Streep and Redford. Still, the film's call for all to remain engaged feels sincere, even if the way it's delivered often doesn't.