Fuck slavery! ‘Lincoln’ (2012).

26 Jan

Pairing Stephen Spielberg with Daniel-Day Lewis could only really be a recipe for success, and Lincoln proves this theory with incredible potency. This is a wonderfully powerful movie from the master director, and sterling performances, fantastic dialogue and its sheer insightfulness combine to make this a must-see.

Lincoln is set almost entirely in the month of January, 1865, and it deals with the various machinations involved in the passing of the thirteenth amendment to abolish slavery. Spielberg must have realised that the majority of great biopics (Motorcycle Diaries, for example) concern themselves with one tiny portion of a person’s life, rather than deal with the whole shebang. This is a smart move on Spielberg’s part, as plenty happened in those 31 days to warrant dramatisation, and the veteran director pulls it off with his traditional ease and gusto.

First of all, lets get one thing clear: the trailer is awful. It insinuates that the film is little more than a cluster of speeches, and although there certainly is an element of that, rhetoric is far from this movie’s preoccupation. A political drama rather than a pseudo-educational bore-fest, I was surprised at just how funny this film is. Honest Abe is both remarkably witty and deeply philosophical, and his one-on-one (or sometimes two or three) scenes with other, lesser characters are very impressive in just how well-written and moving they are.

This film definitely revolves around dialogue rather than spectacle, so I’d advise you catch it in 2D. Daniel-Day Lewis is known for his method acting, and this film is a perfect demonstration of his talent. He is a pleasure to watch, and would steal the show if the supporting cast wasn’t so marvelous. There are almost too many great names: Tommy Lee Jones, James Spader and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are all capable of leading films on their own, yet have relatively minor roles here. While this may make the film appear bloated, it works because none of the actors, big or small, overdo their performances. There is a subtle gracefulness to all of the acting in this film.

I’m scratching my head here trying to come up with some flaws with this movie. I think it really depends on what kind of movie-goer you are; if you go because you’re a Michael Bay fan/explosion junkie, then this film won’t entertain. Those with short attention spans may not appreciate the effort put into the dialogue and characterisation here, and the certain archaic, semi-Shakespearean approach to conversational dialogue may not appeal to everyone. Though for the most part, people will enjoy this film, and should definitely go watch it.

Potentially my favourite Spielberg film so far, Lincoln is a resounding success, and deserves all twelve of the Oscars for which it is nominated.

Simon says: the Oscar-grabbing behemoth of 2012.


2 Responses to “Fuck slavery! ‘Lincoln’ (2012).”

  1. CMrok93 January 30, 2013 at 6:13 pm #

    Good review Simon. Maybe not the most exciting thing to hit the silver-screen this year, but still a very entertaining flick that deserves to be seen, mainly because of the cast at-hand.


  1. Does ‘The Iron Lady’ (2011) match its subject’s notorious legacy? | Simon Says - April 10, 2013

    […] biased, much like most historical films in general. But what separates this film from the likes of Lincoln, which also no doubt cast the man in question in as agreeable a light as possible, is how deftly […]

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