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Friday, February 22, 2013

Lincoln - Review (2012)

Four score and seven minutes ago, we, your forefathers, were brought forth upon a most excellent adventure. Conceived by our new friends, Bill and Ted.   Wait, wrong movie.  Yes, Lincoln appears in this one as well but there is no sign of Bill S. Preston Esq. or Ted "Theodore" Logan.  Sorry.  Even without the two righteous dudes this film can be an excellent adventure and for some a bogus journey

How can this film deliver two completely opposite experiences?  That's easy, it is both a well crafted, stunningly acted, informative film with one of best ensembles to share a screen.  That's the excellent.  At the same time, it is a hell of a lot of talking in dimly lit rooms with almost completely no action and only a few raised voices that is sure to bore the life out of some audiences - that's the bogus.

The story of Lincoln's fight for the thirteenth amendment is a much deeper, richer story than you learn about in school.  If you enjoy history or more so the U.S. history the tug of war over the interpretation of equality will be more than enough to keep you riveted.  Even more so will Daniel Day Lewis' portrayal of Lincoln himself.  I think most people believe Abe only delivered historic speeches (i.e. the one quoted above from San Dimas High School Auditorium circa 1989.)  DDL breathes life into the man, no longer is he a tall guy with a beard and a certain Address in PA, he becomes is fleshed out, becoming for the first time for me, a real person - one that is funny, intelligent and passionate.  At the same time the war over slavery became much more just gunfights and cannons on Civil War battlefields, it was transformed into a battle of intellect, between politicians, rivals and neighbors where words were used to do the fighting. 

On the other side of the coin, this film will definitely not please all audiences. It is set during the Civil War, one of the bloodiest battle of all time and we literally see seconds of warfare - sure to be a disappointment to many.  Those going in expecting massive reenactments of the bloody battles will be greatly disappointed, but if they can get past that there is a good deal to appreciate here. 

Keep an eye on the cast, one of the best ensembles in recent memory, chock full of great actors - many faces you may recognize even if you don't know their names.  Solid performances all the way through.  And as stated everywhere, after receiving every award know to man Daniel Day Lewis is amazing - to be fair though, the hair and makeup at least deserve an assist.

No matter how you view this, as a captivating slice of American history or a long, talky bore Spielberg brings history to life, the question is, are you interested?

7.5 out of 10

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