Oscar Season is well underway but Lincoln was the film that I cared about the least. It was only after watching a few tv spots that I began to take an interest.
It has now got to the stage that I don’t feel comfortable writing a review without issuing some sort of disclaimer. It will come as a surprise to no one that I have no idea how historically accurate Lincoln is and staying true to myself I am not inclined to partake in any research before writing this blog.
PLOT: During the Civil War Abraham Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis) begins a campaign to pass the 13th Amendment and abolish slavery. Lincoln’s team are in a race against time to gain the votes to have the Amendment passed before the war ends. END PLOT
I have watched the first four seasons of The West Wing often enough to know that political drama is not only exciting but also down right stressful. Lincoln was neither.
Despite all the political manoeuvring there was no tension or sense of urgency and in a film that clocks in at a mammoth 150mins (IMDB) this is not a good thing. By the time the Amendment was passed I was more than ready for the film to be over.
The script glossed over the 13th Amendment, the Democratic Party, the Civil War and slavery to the extent that it was no deeper than – North/Lincoln = Good. South/Democratic = Bad.
If Sorkin had written the script both parties would have put forth eloquent arguments before the Amendment was passed. There is no real political debate but there are numerous speeches – Tommy Lee Jones gets one and the rest involve Lincoln sauntering into various rooms to monologue at whatever poor sod who happened to be there.
The storytelling didn’t impress me but I went to Lincoln to see if all the fuss over Daniel Day-Lewis’ performance was justified. There is no denying Daniel Day-Lewis' acting abilities and his performance as Abraham Lincoln was absolutely amazing.
The supporting cast of Tommy Lee Jones, James Spader and Lee Pace are all very capable but Lincoln is Daniel Day-Lewis’ film. Joseph Gordon-Levitt popped up in a small and underdeveloped role as Lincoln’s son but the scenes with Lincoln’s sons and wife (Sally Fields) added unnecessary length to an already bloated running time.
The sets, costumes and cinematography were all stunning but in Lincoln the most interesting thing is always Daniel Day-Lewis.
Lincoln is too long, slow and at times verges on boring but it is worth a look if only to watch Daniel Day-Lewis. It gets a 6/10 but will never be watched again. I can't sum the film up any deeper than Daniel Day Lewis = Good. Lincoln = Bad.