"I think this film is a little heavy for the average cinema-goer, yet it will leave most of us inspired and forced think about the path our lives our taking"
The cast doesn't come much more high-profile than this. While I found Meryl Streep's earnest TV reporter a little unconvincing and Redford's professor too perfect they both turn in solid performances, with Streep especially making the dialogue seem utterly fresh and spontaneous. The acting honours undoubtedly go to Cruise - always at his best when playing someone with something to hide. His Senator Irving has the magnetic smile, twinkling eyes and "trust me" demeanour that is bred into the bones of all major US politicos.
With most scenes consisting of two people in a room talking to one another, and everyone from Socrates to von Clausewitz getting a name- check, many people may be turned off - and this unwillingness to engage in debate is, ironically, one of the film's major themes. But I found it refreshing to hear a lot of these views (from both sides of the political spectrum) get an airing on such a high-profile platform as a major Hollywood movie. Andrew Garfield held a fantastic performance opposite Robert Redford. A US-born but British-trained talent, this magnetic young actor has star quality is spades - quite a compliment when you look at the company he's keeping. (Watch his wonderfully expressive eyes when he's talking to Redford - there's a real, thinking person in there.) His character manages to be charming, intelligent, self-deceiving, confused and scared.
Overall, I think this film is a little heavy for the average cinema-goer, yet it will leave most of us inspired and forced think about the path our lives our taking. "Is it better to try and fail, or fail to try?" Is a thought provoking question much like the film as an entirety.