Lincoln – 4/5 Movie Reviews by Ry!

Lincoln – 4/5 – Biopics; films that can either be very engrossing or filled with ambiguity with no disdain to entertain.   When it comes to making a biopic, a lot of the story is either well known or well documented in some form of records.  Lincoln is a film that is both, a great biopic and an enthralling character study.  This film, directed by Steven Spielberg, takes you into the lasting days of one of the most iconic people in history, Abraham Lincoln.  This film, which is slow at parts, is an exciting and entertaining biopic from beginning to end.

It is the year 1865, as the American Civil War begins to wind down to a sadden conclusion, U.S. president Abraham Lincoln endeavors to achieve passage of a landmark constitutional amendment. The amendment, which will define his legacy, is one that will forever ban slavery in the United States.  Peace may come at any time, and if it comes before the amendment is passed, the returning southern states will stop it before it can become law.  Lincoln must, by any means possible, obtain enough votes from Congress before peace arrives and it is too late.  As the nation confronts its conscience over the freedom of its entire population, Lincoln faces his own crisis of conscience; to end slavery or end the war.  This movie showcases many people in very iconic roles.  I will begin with the most iconic role, Abraham Lincoln.  This iconic person is played by the actor of many faces, Daniel Day Lewis.  In this role, I believe he does his best work to date, even over his Oscar winning role in There Will Be Blood.  When you watch him on screen, you don’t think about him playing the character; you realize that he is the person, Lincoln.  He is humble, witty, charming and all around confident in his own convictions.  As Lincoln, you see someone who is stern upon all fronts, as well as great when it comes to chemistry with everyone else in the movie.  You feel that it is truly Lincoln you are watching.  Watching this movie, you can tell that Daniel Day Lewis prepared for this role.  You feel empowered by watching him on the screen, even in his subtle monologues.  With the supporting cast, there are many names.  You have Sally Field (Mary Lincoln), David Strathairn (William Seward), Joseph Gordon Levitt (Robert Lincoln), Tommy Lee Jones (Thaddeus Stevens) and Jared Harris (Ulysses S. Grant) to name a few.  I could go into detail for each of these side characters, but I will only sum it up as quickly as possible; magnificent.   You would think Mr. Lewis could bring enough charisma and charm to this movie and it will be great.  It is a great film with him, but the added depth and quality from each of the supporting characters brings and even deeper complex to an already amazing film.  Not only did they all have great chemistry together, but they were also commanding as well.  You feel as if you see people of the era, witnessed to their presence thick and thin.  Out of this group, Tommy Lee Jones stands out as the strongest supporting character.   He puts on a performance of a lifetime as House leader of the Republican Party.  He brings angst and arrogance to Lewis’s subtle and witty Lincoln.  His chemistry with Lewis brought true complexion to both their personalities, because you see these two men, with different ideals, can work together for a bigger cause.

The direction in this film, for all the wits and charms of the characters, is a very simple concept.  The direction of this film is on the basis of passage of the 13th amendment as well as the latter days of Lincoln’s life.  The director puts all the emphasis, not on big spectacles, but on the flow of the characters in the film.  You see the difficulty for some of the people that are working on the passage of the amendment, as well as the strife it brings to Lincoln and the nation in a divided civil war.  Spielberg brings a marvel of simple innocence to each character.  You see how everyone is affected by this amendment, good and bad.  You also see how definition of human values could be simple or hard for people to believe in either direction.  The uniqueness is not in the facts that are true, but how drawn we are to the story and the way it proceeds from beginning to end.  You feel the passion, anger and grace of each individual.  You see that this direction of the film can have draw backs, which it does at points.  For being a character study, the movie does get slow at parts.  Even for the slowing down, the movie never gets dull, and the attractions of the characters bring you back into the overall feeling of the movie.

The cinematography is marvelous.  You felt as if you were in America during the 1800s, as well as feel inflicted and infused in the world of our own Civil war.  You have affection in all the lighting and structures that are present, as you feel this era of America and cherish what you see.  Every ounce of this film is awe inspiring, as well as life capturing.  You feel the realism in every structure, area and room the characters pass through.  Added to this is the score, which is another great element of the film.  The music helps capture the feel of each character’s interaction with one another, as well as the moments with Lincoln when he is talking, sitting, or thinking when he is alone.  The score brings you the highs of the moment, and the lows of the tragic.  Overall, a great aspect of the film can be found in both the atmosphere created by the era as well as the music.

Lincoln is another great Spielberg masterpiece.  Great acting, direction and overall filming, you get a great insight on the life and struggles of Abraham Lincoln.  With this film focusing on the later years of his life, you feel that you see an encompassing truth about his life, as well as humanity’s strength in the passage of the 13 amendment.  I would recommend this film to anyone a fan of Spielberg, as well as a fan of great acting, biopics and overall movie experience.  A definite blu-ray purchase.

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