Daily archives "February 11, 2013"

Lincoln ****

Lincoln

Running Time: 150 mins Certificate: 12A

Synopsis: An account of Abraham Lincoln’s (Day-Lewis) plan to sway the House Of Representatives and pass the 13th Amendment, which will outlaw slavery, but will it have reprecussions on his mission to end the war.

 

Spielberg revisits the theme of freedom and slavery after the disjointed and disappointing Amistad, with an epic film that is more rewarding. But do expect another War Horse or Saving Private Ryan as there are very few battle scenes with most of the carnage and destruction being displayed long after the civil war battles have ended.

 

The message is clear from the outset that nothing good comes out of wars, but ultimately talking can be more powerful than a gun. In a funny way this is what both the director have done for this movie with a though provoking ambitious drama with great dialogue. The discussions are never boring and are mostly enlightening.

 

This partly the problem with the biopic is the script is too dense and is full of detail, which at times feels a little confusing and hard to follow. Multiple characters are constantly established only to be forgotten. Tony Kushner’s script seems like it would have been better suited for the stage than the screen.

 

The acting is sublime with James Spader and John Hawkes bring much needed comedy to the proceedings. Tommy Lee Jones plays the likeable, but gruff opponent to Lincoln. Sally Field tries her best with an underwritten part, but she is ultimately forgettable.

 

But the scene stealer is the man himself. After a few minutes it is hard to believe that the person on screen is not Lincoln. Day Lewis absorbs the role like a chameleon, with his slow southern drawl and stooped posture.

 

Spielberg has made thought provoking epic with stunning photography, beautifully written dialogue and outstanding performances. It may be a bit talky for some, but given a chance audiences will find a hidden gem of a movie.

 

Reviewed by Paul Logan