Lincoln | 2012

Genre: Biopic /Drama

Author : Srivathsa

Synopsis:“Lincoln” is Steven Spielberg’s definitive character study and a clinical history lesson.

“Do you think we choose the times into which we are born? Or do we fit the times we are born into?”, Daniel Day-Lewis says during a scene in Steven Spielberg’s intensely personal “Lincoln”, playing the title character of the remarkably celebrated president of the United States of America. Spielberg’s choice of making this film narrowed down only to the final four months of Abraham Lincoln’s life and not as a complete biopic, endows him a freedom to microscopically view the state of affairs and characters, adroitly and clinically. “Lincoln” while sculptured with ultimate exactitude, it is brought to life, by one of the greatest performances ever by the Irish actor.

The film follows the year 1865, when Lincoln had just assumed his powerful presidential post for the second term. The American Civil War was in its fourth year, towards its end, but it had its toll by then. Lincoln, as soon as he stepped into the office, started working on his belief of passing the Thirteenth Amendment, which ropes in the abolishment of slavery. He had to do it quick enough, and see it through before the war ends, as peace would bring in the return of Southern states, which in turn would stop the bill before it becomes a law. Dealing with a knotty situation of bringing the war to peace and also the passage of the Amendment to the constitution, Lincoln also had other troubles, wherein he required all the Republicans (counting the racist ones and also a equality-demanding proud Thaddeus Stevens to underplay in the House) to vote for the bill and also at least 20 of the Democrats to do the same. He employed three lobbyists to make sure, it works by any means. While, this seemed impractical, his personal family problems did not help him either. It was Lincoln; he made it probable and then finally, possible. Based on the book “The Team of Rivals” by Doris Kearns Goodwin, in parts, Steven Spielberg ropes in an astoundingly verbal and highly capable prose writer, Tony Kushner for “Lincoln”.

Any critic would at least need a couple of pages to write about the best choice of the movie, without which “Lincoln” might not be the “Lincoln” that it is now. Prudently, did Spielberg point that he would not be making this movie, if Day-Lewis hadn’t agreed to play “Lincoln”; because, what Daniel Day-Lewis does is nothing less than extravagant, stunning and amazing. He plays, Lincoln as a tale teller, towering politician, emotional, yet constrained, father and husband. He lives the character, flesh and blood. The young generation would most likely, remember, Lincoln only as the powerhouse performer, Daniel Day-Lewis. He tonally adjusts his voice to a reedy, sharp and clear voice. It is not a mere mimic of the character, but the actor, lives him, in heart and soul. Utterly astonishing!

With a brilliant supporting cast, including Tommy Lee Jones, Sally Field, David Strathairn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, “Lincoln” suppresses Spielberg’s own sentimental and outward attitude and takes it to a level, where it becomes more interior, cliché less, verbal and profound movie. It sees Lincoln as not just a President or a hero, but a human being. Janusz Kaminski’s gloomy, stark and darkly lit cinematography deserves accolades, while I would’ve been glad to watch the movie black and white as an artistic choice.

“Lincoln” can raise to those collection racks, along with any Hollywood classic and in proximity to Spielbergian gems like “Schindler’s list”, “Saving Private Ryan”. This versatile director never fails to surprise us with his array of genres and assurance and this movie is the closest it can get to being un-Spielbergian. In “Lincoln”, the director under plays himself, while Mr. Daniel Abraham Day-Lewis Lincoln, and takes the front seat. “Lincoln” is not only the best films of the year, but one of Spielberg’s best.


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Earthwind | 3/25/2013 8:08:28 AM
We need a lot more isnihgts like this!