Four score and seven years ago I started watching this film, and finished last night.
I was debating internally whether or not I should review Lincoln. My thoughts were all over the place. I could easily recognize that this is an Oscar caliber film, but could it be too big for me? However, I’m not one for fearing the internet’s backlash, nor that I may get from Llakor. Let’s do this.
Lincoln: directed by the legendary Steven Spielberg and written by Tony Kushner. This film stars Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln, Sally Field, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, David Strathairn, James Spader, Tommy Lee Jones and a metric butt-load of other talented actors.
Spielberg decided against showcasing Lincoln’s vampire killing, wrestling and bar tending days; in favour for the months leading up to his push for the 13th amendment of the US Constitution which called for the emancipation of the slaves. However, don’t let the title of “Lincoln” throw you. This film is much larger than it’s title character the 16th president of the United States of Amuricah.
Filled with colourful characters, (pun not intended, but joyfully enjoyed after the fact) Lincoln tells the story about the president’s internal struggle with the ongoing civil war and infighting within his cabinet over such a radical (for it’s time) proposition. To pile on the emotional bagage, we are allowed into the marriage and family of Lincoln as they continue to struggle with the death of their second son William while their first, Robert wants to join the army.
– James Spader. He was a shinning star in this film. Honestly stealing most of his scenes. Even those shared with Daniel Day-Lewis. Spader’s style, especially on The Office has always been hit or miss with me. However, he was hitting triples the entire film.
– The look. This is probably the most beautiful film with a gruesome battle scene as an opener that you’ll see. DP, Janusz Kamiñski who has done all of Spielberg’s films since Schindler’s List was on his game. Using vast open shots to let us explore the 19th century and tight dimly lit close-ups of Lincoln’s face; this might just be Spielberg’s best looking film yet.
– The makeup. Either Lincoln will win the Oscar for best makeup or Day-Lewis just went on a drug bender for eight months and didn’t sleep throughout the filming. He truly looked the part of Lincoln; an old worn-out man with convictions. I mean if The Iron Lady won it last year…
WHAT DIDN’T WORK:
– JGL. The guy who is in every film this year, Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Now he’s a phenomenal actor, but either he was too big a fish for this role, or he wasn’t in tune with the 1800’s. His scene included a slightly-off confrontation with his father for being ashamed of himself due to not being a man in uniform yet. While not present for much of the film, or playing a large role plot-wise, maybe the character of Robert Lincoln was included on screen because he was present at the South’s surrender.
Lincoln is not a date-movie for sure. This is a film about old men in old-times telling stories about the past in hopes to inspire the future to make history. The sub-plot involving Tommy Lee Jones almost merits a film to itself. While reported to be true, Hollywood takes liberties when seeing fit. Lincoln is a beautifully crafted 150 minute long film that draws emotion at every turn. The turns might be a little longwinding at points but the final pay-off in the third act is well worth the wait. Lincoln is Verified Awesome.