The “Lions For Lambs” Film Analysis Essay Sample For College

Introduction

When it comes to defining the discursive significance of a particular movie, it often becomes rather indispensable subjecting it to a textual analysis. In my paper, I will explore the validity of this suggestion at length, in regards to the 2007 film Lions for Lambs, directed by Robert Redford.

Film Analysis

The main theme of Lions for Lambs is that, contrary to what it is being commonly assumed, many top-ranking politicians in America, who define the essence of the country’s foreign policies, refuse to learn the lessons of history, which in turn results in the needless deaths of American soldiers, stationed abroad. Given the fact that this theme is rather controversial, it was crucially important for the director to succeed in ensuring its psychological/discursive plausibility. In its turn, this explains the qualitative features of the film’s cinematographic format:

a) The way in which Lions for Lambs has been edited, allows us to identify it is a ‘classical’ film. The key features of the classical type of cinematographic editing are: the representational integrity of the plot, the presence of prolonged takes and the fact that even particularly short takes, featured in the film, are psychologically interconnected. The additional reason for us to refer to Lions for Lambs as a classically edited movie, is that the concerned film depicts the flow of events in the highly realistic manner. In its turn, this has been accomplished by the fact that Lions for Lambs is composed out of the spatially unified takes, which help viewers to experience the sensation of a ‘spatial continuity’, while being exposed to the on-screen action. The fact that this indeed happened to be the case can be illustrated, in relation to the sub-sequential scenes, in which Janine Roth (Meryl Streep) is having conversation with Senator Jasper Irving (Tom Cruise).

For example, in one of these scenes, Janine asks Jasper about why he believes in the effectiveness of the exclusively military solutions in Afghanistan, with the camera being focused on her while she does it (00.12.40). By the time, Jasper begins to answer this question; he is shown from behind, with Janine continuing to remain in the take’s center (00.12.42). It is only a few seconds later, after Jasper starts to reply, that he becomes the actual focus of the viewers’ perceptual attention. As a result, viewers are able to confirm to themselves that the conversation in question takes place in the ‘real-time’ mode.

b) Lions for Lambs features three seemingly unrelated plotlines (narratives), concerned with the mentioned dialogue between Janine and Jasper, the dialogue between Stephen Malley (Robert Redford) and Todd Hayes (Andrew Garfield), and the ill-planned military operation, resulting in the ultimate demise of Arian Finch (Derek Luke) and Ernest Rodriguez (Michael Pena). One of the reasons for it is that, being somewhat controversial, the movie’s main theme needed to be explored from a variety of different perspectives, as the mean of ensuring its plausibility. This provides us with the additional reason to define the film’s style of editing as ‘classical’, because it is indeed being a commonplace practice in classically edited movies to be concerned with exploring more than one plotline.

c) In Lions for Lambs, the director made a deliberate point in striving to ensure the psychological soundness of the featured characters’ act. The validity of this suggestion can be illustrated, in regards to the scene, in which Jasper expounds on the sheer necessity for the U.S. to act as a ‘bully’ in the arena of international politics (00.28.13). After all, throughout the course of the scene’s entirety, a half of Jasper’s face (turned away from the window) remains in shadow. This, in turn, prompts viewers to consider the possibility that this character’s agenda having not been quite as transparent, as he would like Janine to believe. The fact that (as we learn later in the film) Jasper was giving it a thought to run for President, confirms the validity of this idea. Apparently, while working on Lions for Lambs, the director remained well aware of yet another important convention of the classical style of film-editing – ensuring that, when exposed to the characters’ act, viewers are able to gain an in-depth insight into the workings of the concerned individuals’ mentality. The same can be said about the significance of the fact that a number of dramatic monologues, featured in this particular movie, reflect the so-called ‘stream of consciousness’, on the part of the affiliated characters. This, of course, contributes even further towards increasing the psychological soundness of the film’s plotline.

d) Lions for Lambs is a highly allegorical movie. The film’s name alone exemplifies the legitimacy of this suggestion, because it serves as the powerful allegory to the fact that, in today’s America, it is specifically the money-greedy/ego-driven individuals (lambs), who give orders to those citizens that happened to be idealistically minded/courageous (lions). The actual settings of most of the film’s scenes serve essentially the same purpose. For example, Jasper is shown promoting his ideas in the office of a Senator, with this office’s window-blinds remaining closed, throughout the film’s entirety. This, of course, is meant to symbolize the fact that America’s top-officials do not actually relate to the lives of this country’s ordinary citizens. Another example – the panoramic shots of mountains in Afghanistan, in the scenes where Arian Finch and Ernest Rodriguez are shown fighting Taliban guerrillas. These shots are there to suggest that ‘real life’ does not quite fit into the provisions of a particular political ideology, which happened to be dominant in the White House. In is understood, of course, that this adds rather substantially to the sheer intensity of the film’s dramatic overtones, which is another qualitative feature of the classical genre in cinematography and literature.

Conclusion

As far as my personal opinion is being concerned, the director’s decision to choose in favor of the classical editing-method is thoroughly justified. The reason for this is that, due to the unconventional sounding of the film’s themes and motifs, the director had no option but to explore them in the manner that correlates with the way, in which people’s psyche actually operates. Given the fact that Lions for Lambs turned out a commercial success, we can safely suggest that he did succeed in it. As the best indication that this indeed happened to be the case, serves the fact that the concerned film is simultaneously both: aesthetically pleasing and intellectually stimulating. I believe that the deployed earlier line of argumentation, in defense of the idea that Lions for Lambs is indeed a classically edited film and that it represents a high discursive value, is fully consistent with the paper’s initial thesis

Works Cited

Lions for Lambs. Dir. Robert Redford. Perf. Robert Redford, Meryl Streep, Tom Cruise, Michael Pena, Andrew Garfield and Derek Luke. United Artists, 2007. Film.

Nintendo And Sony Companies’ Financial Strategies

In order to predict the company’s financial performance and profitability during the next several years, it is important to focus on financial forecasting and develop pro-forma statements (Hillier, Clacher, Ross, Westerfield, & Jordan, 2014; Piper, 2010). The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how pro-forma financial statements are used to forecast changes in businesses’ profitability, competitive advantage, and funding. Therefore, the paper presents pro-forma financial statements for Nintendo and Sony, the discussion of current strategies and future investments, and the ratio analysis.

Pro-Forma Financial Statements

The data provided in the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) 10-K reports for Nintendo and Sony are used to develop pro-forma financial statements for these companies. Appendix A presents the pro-forma statements (2016-2020) that are prepared for both companies with the focus on the certain assumptions. For Nintendo, it is possible to predict the tax rate in 25%. The interest rate will not change because the company does not depend on borrowings, but it is possible to increase the sales rate by 5% each following year due to the success of Mario Kart 8 and other games for Wii U (Nintendo, 2015). In addition, the launch of three new products is planned in 2017 to improve the company’s position in the market. For Sony, the interest rate is 30% because of the dependence on borrowings, and the sales rate will increase by 5% each following year (Sony, 2015).

Current Strategies and Future Investments

Nintendo actively develops the strategy oriented to the further global market expansion. The reason is that Nintendo has released successful products, and the company plans to enter new markets around the world. However, negative changes in the global market and the purchasing power of buyers can influence Nintendo’s liquidity and profitability. As a result, it is important to refer to investments while increasing the numbers related to global sales (Brigham & Houston, 2012; Moore, 2012). Overseas investors are planned to be attracted in order to reduce the impact of negative external factors and realize strategic plans regarding sales. Therefore, it is possible to expect the stable growth in the sales rate. The similar strategy is typical of Sony, but investors from the Asian region and North America are planned to be attracted in order to support the company’s production.

Ratio Analysis

While forecasting the future profitability of the company, managers also need to conclude regarding its potential liquidity and competitive advantage during the next five years. For this purpose, it is important to conduct the ratio analysis and calculate profitability, activity, leverage, and liquidity ratios for Nintendo and Sony as its competitor. The focus is on the data for 2016.

Profitability Ratio

To conclude regarding Nintendo’s future profitability, it is necessary to apply the formula for calculating Gross Margin Ratio (millions of yen): Gross Margin Ratio = Gross Margin/Net Sales.

Gross Margin Ratio for Nintendo = ¥202,044/¥577,269 = 0.35.

Gross Margin Ratio for Sony = ¥3,163,114/¥9,037,468 = 0.35.

The companies have equal gross margins projected for the end of 2016, and they are high enough in the context of the electronics (entertainment) industry. The next step is to calculate Return on Equity (ROE) following this formula: Profit after Taxes/Shareholders’ Equity.

For Nintendo, ROE = ¥81,633/¥13,029 = 6.2%, and for Sony, ROE = ¥169,728/¥37,510 = 4.52%. For 2016, it is possible to forecast the higher ratio for Nintendo because of increases in sales.

Activity Ratio

Activity ratios demonstrate how the company can use the available assets. Total Asset Turnover Ratio is calculated using the following formula: Total Asset Turnover Ratio = Net Sales/Total Assets.

For Nintendo, Total Asset Turnover Ratio = ¥577,269/¥1,362,958 = 0.4, and for Sony, Total Asset Turnover Ratio = ¥9,037,468/¥4,945,963 = 1.8. By the end of 2016, Sony will improve its approach to utilizing the assets, but more attention should be paid to managing assets in Nintendo in order to affect the ratio.

Leverage Ratio

The financial state of the company is determined with the focus on Total Debt Ratio that is calculated using the following formula: Total Debt Ratio = Total Liabilities/Total Liabilities + Market Value of Equity.

For Nintendo, Total Debt Ratio = ¥59,980/¥83,569 = 0.7, and for Sony, Total Debt Ratio = ¥12,178,180/¥12,122,787 = 1. By the end of 2016, Nintendo will be less dependent on loans than Sony because of the ratio.

Liquidity Ratio

Liquidity is measured with reference to Current Ratio that is calculated using the following formula: Current Ratio = Current Assets/Current Liabilities.

For Nintendo, Current Ratio = ¥1,276,958/¥47,980 = 26, and for Sony, Current Ratio = ¥2 345 751/¥661 708 = 3.54. According to the ratio, Nintendo will be able to meet the short-term obligations easily. The ratio for Sony will also increase in comparison to the previous years.

For both companies, Nintendo and Sony, it is possible to project positive changes in liquidity. As a result, the companies will become more competitive, and it is important to note that the position of Nintendo can improve in the market. Still, changes in profitability are predicted to be slow because of the specifics of strategies followed by Nintendo and Sony.

Conclusion

The pro-forma financial statements (2016-2020) were developed for Nintendo and Sony as the main competitors in the electronics industry. The perspectives for the future investments were analyzed for both companies. The ratio analysis demonstrates that Nintendo and Sony preserve the stable leading positions in the market with the focus on high liquidity ratios.

References

Brigham, E. F., & Houston, J. F. (2012). Fundamentals of financial management. New York, NY: Cengage Learning.

Hillier, D., Clacher, I., Ross, S., Westerfield, R., & Jordan, B. (2014). Fundamentals of corporate finance. New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

Moore, C. W. (2012). Managing small business: An entrepreneurial emphasis. New York, NY: Cengage Learning EMEA.

Nintendo. (2015). Annual Report 2015. Web.

Piper, T. (2010). Assessing a company’s future financial health. Harvard Business School Review, 91(11), 1-17.

Sony. (2015). SEC Report 2015.

Appendix A

Table 1. Assumptions for Nintendo.

Assumptions for Nintendo
Period Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5
Interest Rate 10,00% 10,00% 10,00% 10,00% 10,00%
Tax Rate 25,00%
Sales Increase Rate 5,0% 10,0% 15,0% 20,0% 25,0%
Margin Percentage 35,0% 35,0% 35,0% 35,0% 35,0%

Table 2. Nintendo Balance Sheet Data.

Nintendo Balance Sheet Data
Year
2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Assets
Cash ¥612 936 ¥1 127 797 ¥1 175 340 ¥1 264 605 ¥1 655 679 ¥1 783 197
Receivables 534 706 55 355 60 890 70 024 73 525 80 877
Inventory 76 897 93 806 103 187 118 665 124 598 137 058
Total Current Assets 1 224 539 1 276 958 1 339 417 1 453 293 1 853 802 2 001 132
Plant Assets 91 488 110 000 150 000 160 000 160 000 160 000
Accumulated Depreciation 12 000 24 000 36 000 48 000 60 000 72 000
Net Plant Assets 79 488 86 000 114 000 112 000 100 000 88 000
Total Assets 1 304 027 1 362 958 1 453 417 1 565 293 1 953 802 2 089 132
Liabilities
Accounts Payable 58 460 35 980 39 579 45 515 47 791 52 570
Other Payables 12 000 12 000 12 000 12 000 12 000 12 000
Total Current Liabilities 70 460 47 980 51 579 57 515 59 791 64 570
Long Term Debt 13 000 12 000 11 000 10 000 9 000 8 000
Total Liabilities 83 460 59 980 62 579 67 515 68 791 72 570
Common Stock 811 223 812 000 812 000 812 000 811 000 811 000
Retained Earnings 409 344 490 977 578 839 685 778 1 074 011 1 205 562
Total Equity 1 220 567 1 302 977 1 390 839 1 497 778 1 885 011 2 016 562
Total Liabilities & Equity 1 304 027 1 362 958 1 453 417 1 565 293 1 953 802 2 089 132

Table 3. Nintendo Income Statement.

Nintendo Income Statement.

Table 4. Nintendo Cash Flow Statement.

Nintendo Cash Flow Statement
Year
2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Sales ¥577 269 ¥634 996 ¥730 245 ¥843 433 ¥969 948
Change in Receivables 479 351 -5 535 -9 134 -7 352 -12 132
Cash From Sales 1 056 620 629 460 721 112 836 081 957 816
Cost of Sales 375 225 412 747 474 659 548 231 630 466
Change in Payables 22 480 -3 598 -5 937 -4 779 -7 886
Change in Inventory 16 909 9 381 15 478 12 460 20 559
Cash Cost of Sales 414 614 418 530 484 201 555 912 643 139
Cash Margin 642 007 210 931 236 911 280 168 314 677
Cash Wages 45 000 55 000 60 000 65 000 60 000
Selling & Administrative 25 000 27 000 30 000 32 000 30 000
Other 10 000 10 000 10 000 10 000 10 000
Net change in other current items 0 0 0 0 0
Total Cash Expenses 80 000 92 000 100 000 107 000 100 000
Net Cash From Operations 562 007 118 931 136 911 173 168 214 677
Income Taxes -27 211 -29 287 -35 646 -43 850 -56 620
Interest Expense -1 200 -1 100 -1 000 -800 -1 000
Investment and Financing Transactions
Sale of (Purchase) Plant -18 512 -40 000 -10 000 0 0
Issue (Retire) Longterm Debt -1 000 -1 000 -1 000 -1 000 2 000
Issue (Retire) Stock 777 0 0 0 1 000
Total Nonoperating Cash Changes -47 146 -71 387 -47 646 -45 650
Net Cash Increase (Dec) 514 861 47 543 89 265 127 518 160 057

Table 5. Assumptions for Sony.

Assumptions for Sony

Period Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5
Interest Rate 30,00% 30,00% 30,00% 30,00% 30,00%
Tax Rate 35,00%
Sales Increase Rate 10,0% 15,0% 20,0% 25,0% 30,0%
Margin Percentage 35,0% 35,0% 35,0% 35,0% 35,0%

Table 6. Sony Balance Sheet Data.

Sony Balance Sheet Data.

Table 7. Sony Income Statement.

Sony Income Statement
Year
2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Sales ¥8 215 880 ¥9 037 468 ¥10 393 088 ¥12 471 706 ¥15 589 633 ¥19 487 041
Cost of Sales 5 874 354 6 755 507 8 106 609 10 133 261 12 666 576
Gross Profit 3 163 114 3 637 581 4 365 097 5 456 371 6 820 464
Wages Expense 112 000 112 000 113 000 113 000 112 000
Selling & Admin. Expenses 50 000 60 000 60 000 60 000 60 000
Depreciation 12 000 12 000 12 000 12 000 12 000
Other 20 000 20 000 20 000 20 000 20 000
Total Expenses 194 000 204 000 205 000 205 000 204 000
Net Income Before Interest & Taxes 2 969 114 3 433 581 4 160 097 5 251 371 6 616 464
Interest Expense 166 833 150 038 150 135 166 833 150 038
Taxes 980 798 1 149 240 1 403 487 1 779 588 2 263 249
Net Income After Taxes 1 821 483 2 134 303 2 606 475 3 304 950 4 203 177
Cumulative before tax earnings 2 802 281 6 085 824 10 095 786 5 084 538 11 550 965

Table 8. Sony Cash Flow Statement.

Sony Cash Flow Statement
Year
2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Sales ¥9 037 468 ¥10 393 088 ¥12 471 706 ¥19 487 041 ¥23 384 449
Change in Receivables 365 242 -129 991 -199 319 -373 724 -373 724
Cash From Sales 9 402 710 10 263 097 12 272 386 19 113 317 23 010 725
Cost of Sales 5 874 354 6 755 507 8 106 609 12 666 576 15 199 892
Change in Payables 636 818 -84 494 -129 558 -242 921 -242 921
Change in Inventory 803 157 220 288 337 775 633 329 633 329
Cash Cost of Sales 7 314 329 6 891 301 8 314 826 13 056 985 15 590 300
Cash Margin 2 088 382 3 371 796 3 957 560 6 056 332 7 420 425
Cash Wages 112 000 112 000 113 000 112 000 113 000
Selling & Administrative 50 000 60 000 60 000 60 000 60 000
Other 20 000 20 000 20 000 20 000 20 000
Net change in other current items 0 -86 0 0 -86
Total Cash Expenses 182 000 191 914 193 000 191 914 193 000
Net Cash From Operations 1 906 382 3 179 882 3 764 560 5 864 418 7 227 425
Income Taxes -980 798 -1 149 240 -1 403 487 -2 263 249 -2 740 298
Interest Expense -166 833 -150 038 -150 135 -150 038 -150 135
Investment and Financing Transactions
Sale of (Purchase) Plant -39 431 -57 922 -30 366 -57 922 -57 922
Issue (Retire) Longterm Debt -155 977 -55 985 325 -55 985 325
Issue (Retire) Stock 123 000 14 000 10 000 14 000 10 000
Total Nonoperating Cash Changes -1 220 039 -1 399 185 -1 573 663 -2 910 474 -2 513 194
Net Cash Increase (Dec) 686 343 1 780 697 2 190 897 3 351 224 4 316 951

Group Projects And Its Problems

Group Assignments Vs Incentive Plans

Group assignments given either in educational or professional settings are targeted at encouraging individuals to work together as a team in order to reach a particular objective, for example, successfully getting a deal with a company’s new partner or completing a presentation on a topic studied in class. While group incentive plans are associated with financial rewards given to employees to boost and sustain their productivity (Marshall, 2013), successful completion of the group project is not rewarded financially. However, the idea that if a group collaborates, establishes effective communication, and distributes the assignments correctly will be given a reward of some sort (either monetary or not) is what makes group projects and group incentive plans very similarly. What is also similar is that group assignments teach individuals to work as a part of a team that has a common goal to reach. Therefore, group projects assigned, for example, at college, prepare students for the future work in a corporate environment where collaboration, effective communication, and reaching of the set objectives will be motivated by an incentive.

The Free Rider Problem

Despite the fact that a group project implies the collaboration among team members and their equal contribution to the process, there are many cases when one individual wants to get rewarded for nothing. In economics, this is called a “free-rider problem” – people that benefit from the resources to which they did not make any contribution (Vander Ark, 2016). This problem is also prevalent in education; according to the article by Hall and Buzwell (2012), many students that make significant contributions to the group project feel frustration when they receive the same mark as their fellow team members that did practically nothing. On the other hand, free riding may be an involuntary reaction of some students who feel that they are not competent enough to be equal contributors to the group. This can occur in situations with students that do not have effective communication skills (especially international students to whom English is not a native language).

To give an example of free riding, let’s imagine the hypothetical situation where a team of five people was assigned to complete a project on the negative effects of smoking on patients with diabetes. When four group members discussed the distribution of the assignment, the fifth one sat in the distance playing on his phone, stating that he will call someone to get his part of the assignment. Unfortunately, there was no call, so the team members had do complete the assignment without him because they were afraid of not getting a pass. In the end, the entire group got a high grade including the student that did not contribute anything.

Other Problems in Group Projects

Group projects, similarly to incentive plans, can experience other problems. For example, the competition for the leader’s position is something that causes issues in teams’ performance. In incentive plans, a group leader is trying to be acknowledged and praised by the senior management for the successful implementation of a project. In an educational setting, students can also compete for the acknowledgment of a teacher because it can influence decisions when it comes to giving final grades. Moreover, some people are just “natural” leaders and want to be ahead of the team; if two or more individuals are selected to be parts of one group, conflicts are sometimes inevitable.

References

Hall, D., & Buzwell, S. (2012). The problem of free-riding in group projects: Looking beyond social loafing as reason for non-contribution. Active Learning in Higher Education, 14(1), 37-49.

Marshall, A. (2013). Making team incentives work. Web.

Vander Ark, T. (2016). How to avoid the free rider problem in teams