film reel image

film reel image

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Lincoln 2012 * * * Stars

Director: Steven Spielberg
Year: 2012
Rated PG-13
Rating: * * * Stars
Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones

It's obvious that you know what you're getting into when you view an historical epic by Steven Spielberg. He does his darnedest to get everything right. He's meticulous with every little detail down to the costume design, the musical score, the way people talk, the look of the sets, everything. In 2012, he almost succeeds with Lincoln, a recounting of the last few months of Abraham Lincoln's life. This film covers mainly, the efforts of one of our nation's most beloved presidents, to get a constitutional amendment passed that would abolish slavery. The performances are all top notch and you couldn't find a stronger cast assembled by Spielberg in any of his other films. Daniel Day-Lewis, who won an Oscar for his performance in the title role, not only looks like our 16th president, but impersonates him as effectively as he totally embodies the character (I never met Lincoln obviously but I'm pretty sure Day-Lewis got the posture right too). Along with Sally Field (Lincoln's wife Mary Todd), who is equally good, this film is a showcase for many great, almost forgotten screen talents, to show that they still have what it takes (James Spader, Jackie Earle Haley, Hal Holbrook, Tim Blake Nelson to name a few).

The only fault I find with this exercise is that it's a very talky picture that sort of repeats itself. You find President Lincoln and his cohorts constantly debating the same issues over and over again in scene after scene. Now let me remind you, the acting is superb, but as usual Spielberg doesn't normally write screenplays and Tony Kushner's (he wrote the more effective Munich) script for Lincoln seems almost too accurate and as mentioned earlier, repetitive. Also, it sometimes lacks heart and you can lose interest real fast unless you're a stone cold historical buff.

Regardless, this flick has some indelible images (the scene where Day-Lewis rides on a horse with his head titled just kills me) and an excellent opening montage where Lincoln empathizes with some forgotten soldiers. Granted, this poster child for the Oscars may not be Spielberg's finest hour (2 and a half actually), but it will provide you with a good old fashioned night at the movies.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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