Taking on a historic figure as iconic as Abraham Lincoln is quite a challenge, but Steven Spielberg and Daniel Day-Lewis have more than enough talent and drive to be worthy of the project. Spielberg’s Lincoln shows us good ol’ Abe in the process of trying to get the 13th Amendment passed. Rounding out the ensemble cast is Tommy Lee Jones, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Sally Field, James Spader and David Strathairn. In addition to the politics, we also get to share plenty of time with Lincoln in his everyday life under that stove pipe top hat, absorbing the pressures of a President in harsh times with a tranquil demeanor.
Director Spielberg shows no signs of slowing down with his recent film, as he manages to inform us on the ways of politics, as well as entertain us consistently. The film looks and feels very authentic, thrusting the audience in the Civil War era without a thread of clothing looking insincere. At times, Spielberg manages to mix in some surreal shots in this film, some dreamy and others subtle. The script is very sharp, with the attractive dialogue and the casting is near-perfect, as everyone brings their “A” game for Mr. Spielberg.
Daniel Day-Lewis proves once again why he’s arguably the best actor in our generation. Day-Lewis completely becomes Abraham Lincoln, from his inviting voice, to his gentle mannerisms, his weary eyes and likability. Lincoln was an easy leader to follow because he was noble, a characteristic that is quite rare nowadays in politics, and Day-Lewis exemplifies noble dignity as Honest Abe. When Day-Lewis is on screen as Lincoln, it’s hard not to be captivated by his gentle soul, and willingness to take the burden of the times. From the first time you see him to the very last shot of his silhouette walking away, you can’t help but feel that you’re in the presence of greatness.
There are so many great performances in this film, but the supporting actor that stands out among the rest, almost without question, is Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens, a Republican leader that was one of the most powerful members in the United States House of Representatives. Jones is a quick draw with his words, and very passionate about the passing of the 13th Amendment. With every well-worded insult he throws at the opposition, you can’t help but cheer, as his insult are like hay-makers.
Lincoln is a worthy window into the life of the 16th President of the United States. Daniel Day-Lewis and Steven Spielberg solidify their already amazing career even further with this film. In a time were politics is associated with black hearts, it’s nice to see a political figure with a golden one, even if he belongs to the ages.
For some, this may not be the biopic they were expecting. There are definitely those out there that want a full-on biopic of Abraham Lincoln, but this film just gives you a window into a significant portion of his life. If you know beforehand what the film covers, you’ll be better off.
This film is definitely dialogue-driven, so if you’re not willing to keep up with the conversations, then you most likely won’t have a ball watching this. It’s heavy on dialogue and politics, and if that’s not your cup of tea, you may drown in it.
Gangs of New York
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