Sunday, January 19, 2014
Film Review: Lincoln
Nominated for numerous awards upon its release back in '12, Lincoln was frequently cited as one of Spielberg's best works in a long time. I suppose when compared to Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull this is a correct sentiment. That said, I found it to be wildly overrated.
Daniel Day Lewis's portrayal of Lincoln is good (eerily resembling the president) but waffles between overwrought and enraged and not much in between. Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln was satisfactory but her mere existence in the film is superfluous and feels more like a tip of the cap to affirmative action than as a necessary part of the story.
The story itself, revolving around the successful efforts by Lincoln and his supporters to get the 13th Amendment passed by Congress unfortunately does not lend itself to a thrilling film. What we get are numerous set piece, interior scenes, darkly lit with people expressing their opinion in long fairly unexciting soliloquies. Yes, the result of all this talking is an extremely important part of American history...no, it doesn't make for great film making material. Two and a half hours of static shot after static shot of people talking and talking and talking is WAY too much.
In truth, this would have been much more effective as a stage play and cut by about an hour. Some films can be entertaining...exciting even with just dialogue---Twelve Angry Men for instance. Lincoln isn't one of these and will not be long remembered.