Steven Spielberg’s last Oscar bait was War Horse.
So, I believe I am excused to say I was skeptical about this one. Especially since it touches upon an important, complex and rather sensitive historical issue, which is not something Spielberg works with often. Moreover, he hasn’t had the best track record the past few years. War of the Worlds? Terminal? And the unforgivable rape of Indiana Jones…? So, yes when friends suggested going to see it in the cinema, I almost said no.
..and I am glad I didn’t.
All in all, I liked it. There is definitely something that this movie brings about. If not, at least Daniel Day-Lewis’ performance is pretty much as good as they say. But I will focus on that in a little bit. Firstly, let me just sketch a few remarks on the movie as a whole. ‘Lincoln’ is a prime Hollywood specimen. It’s one of those movies, that reminds you what mainstream Hollywood was and, rarely so nowadays, is all about – golden director making a golden movie about a golden president. From the flawless cast and convincing performances, with the exquisite set, costumes and make-up, to the genius of John Williams and the cinematography crew it is hard to put a hand on your heart and honestly point out negative sides.
There are of course some sides of ‘Lincoln’ that I know people would have problems with. It is very patriotic. Yes, and for some US-skeptic people (which are definitely not scarce especially in Western Europe, to my personal observation) it could be perceived as a drawback. But hey, even if the Americanism is too much at times (which I am actually quite ok with), this remains a movie about one of the US’ greatest presidents, so let it be!
The language. I saw people in the movie theatre leave, the people sitting next to me fell asleep … Indeed, the dialogue , especially in the first 30 minutes or so is not the easiest to follow, but I rather enjoyed it. I have had enough of movies that have to treat the viewers like they quit school around the age of 15 (maybe ‘cause the most of the mainstream audience actually is at that intellectual level, but hey that’s a whole other debate).
Not interesting enough, unrealistic. I heard some arguing the movie is slow and rather uneventful. “People talk too much, there is almost no action”. True, though I found the movie to be nonetheless really dynamic in its intricate political games and manipulations. In fact, I think ‘Lincoln’ provides the audience with a good level of tension and surprising amount of plot twists to a story everyone knows
Finally, I would like to get back to the portrayal of ‘Lincoln’, the best thing about the movie, Daniel Day-Lewis goes method and beyond. As a non-American and someone that hasn’t studied Lincoln in-depth, he was so intriguingly convincing, the moment I went back home I just head to read more about him. Also, because he seemed too saint-like to be true. Disregarding this as an artistic choice and technique for bringing about the storyline, I still pin down Lewis’ acting as refreshingly good. He brings the character to life with an amazing delicacy and nuances. By portraying one of the strongest and most powerful men in history, as a soft gentle family man who never raises his voice, he adds a surprising depth to a person much talked about.
But enough from me, I leave the rest to you. In a nutshell, go see Lincoln, it is likely you find something personally enjoyable in there.