Despite my headline, I want to inform to the reader that “Lincoln” is a great film, but one that I feel was misrepresented by its advertisements. “Lincoln” is all politics except for about two minutes at the beginning and about ten seconds during the third act. While this is, I believe expected from a film like this, I was surprised that Director Steven Spielberg focused himself so far away from capturing first-hand the experiences of the many soldiers on the battlefield of the Civil War. From the trailer for “Lincoln” it just seemed that this would be a prominent secondary plot setting for the film. So anyways, I would like to inform those interested in seeing this film that 98% percent of it is situated in Washington DC, and that all the action is dialogue based. For 2 hours and 30 minutes, this can prove to be a little cumbersome for most.
On the other side of this film, I got everything else I expected. “Lincoln” is certainly one of the best films of the year and indeed one of the best films of Steven Spielberg’s career. “Lincoln” fulfils expectations without you fully realizing it until it’s over. Much like this years “Cloud Atlas”, this film would make for any Production Designers dreams come true. Every piece of set dressing and attire worn by the actors is represent in meticulous detail that it’s near impossible not to get captured and whisked away into the world of the film. Every set and location feels lived in and 1865 has never looked more real on the big screen. No other Director is able to bring history to life quite like Steven Spielberg; except perhaps for Ridley Scott.
As you may have guessed, “Lincoln” tells the story of Abraham Lincoln. It depicts the final months of our 16th Presidents life. How when faced with a nation divided by war, he decided it necessary to change the fate of our country and save the fates of generations to come.
He designs a course of action that in so doing will end the war effort, unite his country once again, and abolish slavery once and for all. Any decision such as this would require tremendous moral fortitude and determination.It’s no wonder how a film like this could have accrued such a star studded cast. Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, David Strathairn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Jackie Earle Haley, Jared Harris, etc. I had to stop or else I would have listed every prominent standing actor in the film. There are are at least 50. Of course, with a story to tell like “Lincoln”, you would expect a fine cast to flock towards a movie such as this. Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones give commendable performances.
As many factual representations as there are of Abraham Lincoln’s life and crusade to abolish slavery as there are present in the film; the focus of “Lincoln” is less about the biographical representation of his life; but of the fire that resided inside of him. We see represented for the first time how one man could fight for what he so strongly believed in, and give no regard as to the consequences. Without equal, actor Daniel Day-Lewis inhabits the persona of Abraham Lincoln with an almost otherworldly quality. Never has a character, much like the rest of the film felt so lived in. It’s remarkable to see an actor who truly falls in love with the character they’re playing. This is a performance that will stand above all others for years to come. Together Spielberg and Lewis have painted a portrait of man who had no equal. “Lincoln” doesn’t have to be a biopic in order for us to understand how rare and iconic a figure he was. This small window should prove to be enough. Thank you for this short, but lasting glimpse.