Directed by Steven Spielberg – Written by Tony Kushner

Starring; Daniel Day Lewis, Tommy Lee Jones, Sally Field and Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Let’s begin… The important actors, the names to which the hype was made for, the ones who everyone goes to see are indeed superb. Daniel Day Lewis (There Will Be Blood, 2007) and Tommy Lee Jones (Men In Black 3, 2012) are equally superfluous in their separate roles. But for the most part of the film thats what it feels like- separated. I believe them to be in only scene together. It almost seems like a conquest to vanity in particular scenes. Don’t get me wrong- both actors are extremely talented, but through some parts of the film I just felt as if it was a competition on who could out-act each other the most. Saying this however, for me, I came into the cinema pre-empting what everyone was waiting for- a mesmerising performance from the ‘never get it wrong’ Daniel Day Lewis, his genius in his method acting is well practised and portrayed, and in his role as Abraham Lincoln he soothes, excites and humours the audience in such an uncanny way. His portrayal is calm, yet full of confidence and omits a patience for the audience who may have trouble keeping up with the politics. Truly a remarkable actor. Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s (The Dark Knight Rises, 2012) character as the honourable son who wants to fight for what is morally right almost , however seems like a cameo appearance, after his summer success with The Dark Knight Rises and with also Looper. Sally Field’s (The Amazing Spiderman, 2012) portrayal as the helplessly grief-stricken wife, Mary Todd Lincoln brings an occasional change of pace to film as well as an interesting revival for her to the Big Screen.

Spielberg and Tony Kushner (Screenplay) throw hefty amounts of jargon toward the audience, a danger for any unawares. Being a HIstorical Drama the commitment to overly political or powerful language is there, but don’t let that put you off. It does in some ways ‘Hollywoodise’ and exaggerate important features, to purely reinforce the audience. For those of you unaware of Abraham Lincoln’s passage to obtain and instate the 13th Amendment- the abolishment of all slavery, and its history of characters then it may be hard to keep up with who is who and what may even be going on. Helpfully however, Spielberg places subtitles on occasion to mark an important person, to ease the strain of any unintentional mystery. The screenplay for me does in some ways simplify what may have happened in 1865, but I think it achieves what it intends to- to reinforce a heavily moral message of an incredibly historical moment in America’s history, concerning the equality of race and the equality of all their people, to put it simply.

The film for the most part does subtly show off some of Spielberg’s classic overly heightened streams of light- of course sometimes over the top, but now and then seem out of place in context. The grainy texture and ingenious lighting effects he uses on establishing shots outdoors are signature, creating a wonderfully realistic tone to the movie, oh and of course never forgetting John Williams’ contributions- a well established and relevant soundtrack.

Lincoln is a great film, celebrating the story of one of America’s greatest and most innovative thinking Presidents, portrayed by the English man of this century. Full of realism and in-depth history (albeit or course not entirely accurate), Spielberg balances it out wonderfully with humour, some beautiful cinematography and brilliant casting.

This film is for any who like stove pipe hats, funny American accents and Daniel Day Lewis.


– Christopher Asher


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