Three interrelated stories of those affected by the Iraq war, including a hawkish politician, an anti-war professor, and the soldiers stuck in between. Senator Irving (Cruise) pushes a war strategy destined for failure in Iraq and Afghanistan while Professor Malley (Redford) debates the validity of the war with his students and worries about two in particular (Pena and Luke) who, as soldiers, are part of Irving's strategy. Director Redford boldly strives to say something meaningful about the war on terror but fails to give his characters any depth. Instead, they all function as flat representations of different viewpoints, spouting talking points rather than actually interacting. Co-stars Cruise and Streep (as the skeptical journalist Roth) do their best, but a bunch of A-list actors making speeches is less a drama than a series of lectures.