25 January 2013
Overall it was a pretty good movie. I expect nothing less from Spielberg. I'm working my way through the oscar nominees slowly so this was inevitable.
The Good: Daniel Day Lewis.
My god that man can act. After the movie it occurred to me that I can't remember what he looks like. I mean, I know what Lincoln looks like but I can't remember what DDL looks like.
Daniel Day Lewis doesn't actually have his own face and instead just simply becomes whomever he pleases on any given day. Someone who knows him should say "Valar Morghulis" to his face and watch for a reaction.
The Bad: Cameos
I found the cameo appearances in this movie completely infuriating. It was so very obvious that every big name in Hollywood begged Spielberg to appear in this movie just so they could say "Aye!" on the anti-slavery amendment or sit quietly in the back and wink at the camera.
The Worse: Historical Context
And that's the other thing. EVERYBODY WAS BLOODY WINKING at the camera. Before every vote on the constitution there was a dramatic pause while the camera flops around to show everyone sitting on the edge of their seats...... which would be fine the first 5 times but after that it's just tedious.
It seemed that any time Lincoln said anything remotely quotable the entire scene around him is staged like a little diorama with all the extras looking off and slightly up into the horizon of posterity, as if it was part of a museum exhibition. I have nothing specific against a properly framed shot but the thing about history is that very often people don't realize they're making it.
Of course everyone could assume, guess or hope that a moment like the abolishment of slavery was going to be important but how many people know it is until later?
One of my favourite moments in the whole film is when Lincoln and his wife are fighting because they're not pausing for each other to say something historic. They're shouting over top of each other like angry people actually do and that moment made the scene believable.
It's not a terrible movie and there are lots of good thigns happening. It's worth the price of admission to see Daniel Day Lewis act.