Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Lincoln - Movie Review

In the hands of a director as highly regarded as Steven Spielberg, you know that a movie about the 16th President of the United States of America would be in more than capable hands. When you add the always amazing Daniel Day Lewis in the role of Mr. Lincoln to the equation, then you are bound to get something truly special.

In the final months of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln wages a political war that, if he succeeds, might just change the world forever. His dream of enacting a constitutional amendment that will abolish slavery in the United States is within just a few votes from passing in the House of Representatives although party lines have been drawn and the needed votes from the Democratic side will not be easy to obtain.

Not only is Mr. Lincoln forced to go up against the opposing Democrat party, but he also must contend with dissension within the ranks of his own Republican party as it seems freeing millions of slaves is not high on anyone's agenda. With real war being waged across the country and political fighting going on within government halls, creative tactics and courageous efforts are what will be needed to win the day.

If I was going to point out one single thing about this movie it would have to be the high quality of acting across the board. Standouts range from Lewis' stunning portrayal of Mr. Lincoln to Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens. Both men command the screen with powerful performances that set the tone for everyone else to follow.

Also, watch for James Spader, John Hawkes, and David Strathairn who are all very good as well as Joseph Gordon-Levitt who actually could have used a little more screen time. With such a wide variety of characters, there were some moments where I wasn't quite sure who someone was or what exactly was going on, but this was never too much of a distraction as Spielberg managed to keep it all together.

If I had to highlight one significant flaw about this film, I would say the lighting was excessively dark and shadowy for my taste. I get why Spielberg went this route, but I didn't feel it was necessary to go as far as he did for basically the entire picture. Other than that, the costuming seemed spot on, the sets all looked authentic, and the soundtrack was powerful without being intrusive.

Lincoln is a movie that is as important as it is entertaining. I really liked that it focused on a very specific series of events and didn't try to tell Mr. Lincoln's entire life story. There wasn't even any mention of his vampire hunting days, but I suppose that is an entirely different tale. Even so, I imagine that both Steven Spielberg and Daniel Day Lewis' names will be brought up again when its time to hand out those golden statues and any they do walk away with will be well deserved.

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