Our most highly regarded president, next to George Washington gets yet another movie, fortunately this time he isn’t fighting off hordes of vampires. What we do get, is a pretty straight forward account of Lincoln’struggle to pass the 13th amendment through a divided house. Sounds tantalizing right? Sadly, the film is a sleep inducing two hours and thirty minutes of your life.
Spielberg who has the role of producer and director of the movie , was once well known for his producing and directing of blockbuster caliber cinema. His ambitious decision to take on the task of a biopic of the renowned president, was met with mixed reactions.I suppose I was stupid in allowing myself to believe that because Steven Spielberg was attached to the film, it would somehow be a bit more interesting.
Don’t get me wrong the movie is intelligent. It covers the very important and often nowadays overlooked topic of the abolition of slavery and racism in our country. Yes, I know it probably sounds professional to pretend to enjoy movies that are ‘deliberately’ slow and rigid in their telling but I refuse to compromise. The only thing that sets this film apart from being a cringe worthy BBC program is its permission to allow Lincoln to crack a few jokes now and then.
I suppose Lincoln’s personal story and joke telling were one of the best aspects of the film. One particularly scene I’d like to mention involves a portrait of George Washington in the John. He was well known for his humor and this was explored successfully in the film. The comedic elements of the movie lightened the otherwise colorless tale. Yet, even the comedic aspect of the film grew stale, leading to an on screen character eventually declaring that he can’t take another one of Lincoln’s stories.
Several parts of the movie I thought could have been handled a bit better; Lincoln’s family affairs and his imminent assassination. There were several scenes with Lincoln fighting with his wife about whether on not to allow their son to join the war but their only purpose seemed to be in cooking up a sense of empathy for Lincoln and his wife. Yes, Lincoln’s assassination happens off screen. Some may say this was done tastefully but I disagree. I think their was a missed opportunity to create some suspense and a more dramatic and climatic ending.
The BAFTA award winning actor Daniel Day-Lewis creates a believable character and is dedicated to his portrayal of the president, much like he is with most of his roles. Sadly the script is boring and uninspired and leaves little room for the actor to show any real emotion. The plot unravels at a snails pace and concludes in a anticlimactic and flat manner.
Do yourself the favor and limit yourself to just the trailer/preview. The story can be summed up in a couple words: My name is Lincoln and I want those gosh darn votes for my amendment. The best parts of the film arrive during debates on the floor of the house of representatives. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before though, in countless other movies without the old fashion, and at times difficult to follow style of speech. I suppose if you want to watch a history book unveil its self on the screen , you’ve gone to the right place.