Sunday, 10 February 2013


 Already depicted once this year in Django Unchained with blood, gore and gratuitous style, 19th century America is a time period with a plethora of contrasting events and iconic characters. With the slave trade tackled already this year by Tarantino it fell to the hands of Spielberg to provide some necessary background politics and transition Americas greatest president to the silver screen and who better to fill these presidential shoes than Daniel Day-Lewis, perhaps one of the greatest actors of all time. With the potential to create cinematic magic and almost inevitable Oscar stardom, Lincoln delivers magnificently in it's authenticity and vigor however does feel slightly cumbersome in it's pacing.

 For a film titled after it's lead protagonist Lincoln proves to have little significance especially during the concluding hour of the film. He evidently plays a large role in the narrative of this film however oddly enough the film fails to directly address his efforts, making it seem more as a result of the efforts of his party and fortunate outside influences to pass the historic 13th amendment. This narrative conclusion comes as a result of clear extensive political efforts instead of confrontational warfare that is seen too often from films of a similar genre. To see the crucial background work that brought about the end of the American civil war is a story rarely told to such a refreshing and accurate degree, showing that once again a film can be a thriller even with a lack of death and gunshots. This leads to a conclusion that beholds an odd amount of intensity and vigor, despite the films ultimate ending being known by every spectator.

 For a film by the notoriously impressive yet undeniably whimsical Steven Spielberg, it was invigorating to see a lack of forcefully sentimental moments and instead witness Spielberg provide his magical sparkle with the aid of John Williams score; which is used sparingly and to good effect. The overall vibe of this dramatic period piece puts the audience right in the position of a person of the time, created excellently by the underlying production of set design and makeup giving a realistic tint to the already perfect portrayal of 19th century America. Implementing this accuracy is the incredibly impressive cast led by Daniel Day-Lewis who overshadows most cast members with his dominating performance, all however except for Tommy Lee Jones who acts as Lincoln's 'right hand man' as we find ourselves experiencing our concluding happiness more with him rather than the protagonist. This isn't to say his Day-Lewis' performance is bad, in fact it's quite perfect, the problem lies in the fact that the majority of his miswritten dialogue is less than rousing containing convoluted political jargon attempting to make the film seem more sophisticated than it actually is. This makes his screen presence occasionally seem tiresome, despite being undoubtedly enjoyable.

 To say Lincoln is an achievement is of course an understatement however there remains a case of expectancy around Spielberg and although this delivers it wasn't at all surprising or in fact inventive, it was just a very good, clean-cut picture. With Lincoln being the greatest of patriotic cinematic experiences, it immediately becomes a significant contender for the 85th Academy Awards and rightly so with acting performances outweighing any film of the past few years let alone this years acting contenders  Showing to be too slow and structurally thin however a best film win would be unjustified.

8/10- A fantastic bio-pic of one of Americas greatest presidents, finished with recognisable Spielberg gleam.

Calum Russell

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