Review: Literate, cerebral and heartwarming, Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln is unlike the usual biopics with some moments that are simply brilliant including a documentation that centered on the passing of the 13th Amendment of the American Constitution (abolishing slavery in the U.S.).
Rewind to the last four months of the 16th President of America, Abe Lincoln’s life. Lincoln’s just been re-elected and the civil war is in its fourth bloody year. The film opens with Lincoln having a casual conversation with some black Union soldiers (who were former slaves) about the inequality amongst blacks and whites. The difficult to digest casual conversation leads the path of the narrative.
While most of you who’ve read up on U.S. history would know what’s happened but it’s the detailing of the events in the White House which makes this a great, engrossing history lesson unfold in a film format.
You learn that Lincoln, now an old man, exhausted by war & personal disasters is still a master of charm and manners; commands authority like a natural leader; scared as husband; caring and gentle as a father.
With period mood & imagery, Spielberg projects Lincoln in surreal cinematic romanticism. Dialogues and language apt to those times and are striking as well as moving. Exciting, yes, if you have the patience to follow 20 bearded men in political discussions for the first 20 minutes.
This political saga is held up by the remarkable performances of all the entire cast. Daniel Day Lewis shines as Lincoln, the heart of the film. Make-up, mannerisms, physique all replicating history perfectly. Sally Field is noteworthy for her formidable act as Mary Todd Lincoln.
You can as always rely on a Spielberg film for its outstanding cinematography and fine performances down to the smallest role. The only major flaw is the script itself which loses focus and affects the drama.
Verdict: Near perfection. Watch it for History’s sake!
Release Date: Feb 8, 2013
Director: Steven Spielberg
Genre: Biography, Drama, History
Run time: 2 hrs 30 mins
Writer: Tony Kushner
Cast & Crew: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field , David Strathairn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Spader, Hal Holbrook, Tommy Lee Jones