Lincoln was always going to be a strong awards contender. How could it not when anything Stephen Spielberg and/or Daniel Day-Lewis are attached to is in some way, if not every way incredible. It was inevitable. But it has its flaws; some major flaws too. While it deserves serious recognition and appreciation, not to mention many of the awards it is nominated for; Daniel Day-Lewis is as has come to be expected brilliant in the role of Abraham Lincoln, it is extremely dialogue heavy and lacks action. It’s an incredibly intellectual script, and beautifully written but it’s too much talking that fills every minute of the two and a half hour running time. Lincoln is set during the American Civil War, 1965, and presents many opportunities for Spielberg to show-boat those skills demonstrated so well in Saving Private Ryan for which he unarguably won so many accolades. But none are taken. Besides a brief glimpse of battle during the opening minutes Lincoln’s war takes place in the courtroom as his loyal council fight to procure votes in battle to pass the 13th Amendment, banning slavery. It’s a tough slog for anyone unfamiliar with this part of history as a lot of what happens is lost in political dialogue and that certain way of speaking standard in those days. Though it sounds poetic, all those metaphors and long patriotic speeches, it was hard to keep up with, trying to decipher one speech while their already on to the next and a second watch is most definitely necessary to grasp it fully if not just a little better. This is unquestionably a character driven piece headed by Day-Lewis, who is supported by a strong, very impressive male cast that includes David Strathairn (William Seward), James Spader (W.N Bilbo), Hal Holbrook (Preston Blair), John Hawkes (Robert Lathem), Tim Blake Nelson (Richard Schell), and many many more, but most notably Tommy Lee Jones (Thaddeus Stevens) who gives one of his best performances to date. And behind every great man is the all important and even greater women, in this case Sally Field (Molly Lincoln). I have to say I’ve seen very little of Sally Field, having Mrs Doubtfire as my only source for comparison but she blew me away as Lincoln’s wife giving one of the films most powerful performances. However I do have one issue with Lincoln’s cast, or rather the character of Robert Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln’s son. What little screen time he has and short performance he gives Gordon-Levitt gives well but his character is unnecessarily present. He is greatly overlooked and has no real purpose within the context of the film. He is simply screen filler. Like its lack of action more time could have been devoted on his character and subtracted from the many heavy speeches. With that said, the film is definitely worth a watch, as I’ve said already anything with Spielberg or Daniel Day-Lewis involved is worth as much. But it’s not something to take lightly, to go into expecting a two and half hour historical action film, a right laugh, or mindless entertainment. It’s a thought-provoker and hard going. There’s no time to drift off or stop paying attention because you’ll get lost the moment you do. It’s something to be appreciated and a great source for beard/moustache inspiration.
Become familiar with one of America’s most beloved presidents. He’s a pretty awesome guy!
I’ve decided I don’t like my film rating method of putting a price on what I’d pay to see a film so for now it’ll have to be 7/10.