Lincoln

November 18, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Posted in 2012 | 2 Comments
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◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ½

I doubt I have to convince many people to see this film, which I think is virtually guaranteed to land Daniel Day-Lewis as Oscar.  However, for those who are on the fence, be warned, “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer” it is not.  There is a decide lack of action in this very ponderous movie.  We are taken through the laborious (and often devious) machinations of the House Republicans trying to get enough Democratic votes to secure the 18th Amendment.  That is in itself a compelling story of anyone interested in history, though perhaps not enough to make a movie out of.  What lifts this well beyond the level of a History Channel special is the brilliant writing of Tony Kushner (“Angels in America”) and the more than brilliant acting of D. Day-Lewis.  Kushner’s script is full of eloquent turns of phrase, witty zingers, and many laugh-out-loud moments; so many lines were such shear joy to listen to that I could comfortably recommend this movie for that along  However, that is not the reason to see “Lincoln.”  Rather, one should see this film to see Day-Lewis, who is arguably the best actor of his generation (and perhaps the best living male actor), transform himself.  The tilt of his head, the sound of his voice, his walk, even the look in his eyes are so utterly different from his performances in “There Will Be Blood,” “My Left Foot” and everything else he has done.  This reminds me of Marion Cotillard in “La Vie en Rose,” Sean Penn in “Milk,” and other transformative performances.

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  1. Daniel Day, and the rest of the cast is just amazing, but the one who I was most taken-away from was Spielberg, who plays everything safe, intimate, and very subtle. Something I haven’t seen from the guy in awhile. Good review.

    • Thanks for the comment and thanks for reminding me. I was going to say something about Spielberg but forgot. When I think of him and drama, I always think of “Empire of the Sun” first. And I love that film, by the way, but it is BIG in the way I think of a Spielberg film. There is nothing subtle about that film from cinematography to music to acting, everything is sweeping in it’s scope. That has always been his style, even with his “serious” films: think “War Horse,” “Saving Private Ryan,” and “Shindler’s List.” That makes his restraint in this film all the more amazing. It is so full of small, quiet moments that I would not have expected from Spielberg. Now, he is who he is and he can’t help but has a couple of capital D dramatic moments, like the whole quoting of the Gettysburg address at the beginning and the silhouette of Lincoln walking down the stairs near the end. Those are typical Spielberg but the rest of the film is not and I was glad for that.


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