Sunday, 24 February 2013

Emancipator Of The Slaves.

Who does not enjoy a good history? You know those ones with the cool teacher who did awesome impressions of famous historical figures? The one who made learning fun? This is the film equivalent of that and is the most nominated film of this year's Oscars. This is Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis) is at war with the south. The film opens with two of the North's soldiers commenting on how inspiring they find Lincoln to the man himself. But his wife (Sally Field) and head of state (David Strathairn) are slightly less pleased with him as he pushes for the Amendment that will abolish slavery to be signed earlier than recommended. Fearing that they will never will win enough Democrats over for the fast approaching vote, a select few Republicans set about convincing those close to the fence to support their side. The most notable of these campaigners is Mr Stephens (Tommy Lee Jones) who has been fighting for equality for half his life. But with the war going on in the background and chances for peace becoming visible  will Lincoln sort his priorities out?

After all his speeches, Lincoln was a little horse.

A huge ensemble cast that is made up of some of the most talented individuals in film. People like Lee Jones, Day-Lewis, Gordon-Levitt (lots of double barrelling). But without a shadow of a doubt, Daniel Day Lewis does more than steal the show; he creates the show, he makes it what it is. It is rare to see an actor so lost in their character that, if you did not know Lincoln was dead, you would easily believe this was a documentary. But there is more than that. So often historical characters, particularly political ones, can be so dull with their technical jargon and boring job. But Day Lewis makes Lincoln so likeable that it is physically impossible to find him uninteresting at any point. Listening to his voice is often soft like honey. A truly masterful performance. His supporting cast are also brilliant, namely Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones, also both nominated. The former as the mentally troubled wife of the president, the latter as, what can only be described as, the bad cop of the Republican party. He is uncompromising and unconventional but his rough persona is so extremely captivating that you fully support what he says and does, despite his handling of situations being less than text book.

'Summer you say? Ah, I'm sure she was a wench.'

Spielberg, as always, is on top form. A perfect blend of history, education, heart, soul, and comedy, Lincoln is a little different to the directors normal material, which is not a bad thing. John Williams’ (again) fantastic score is less evident than in the directors other works, and while Spielberg is no stranger to historical accuracy, Lincoln feels different. More like a self-congratulatory pat on the back for himself after all the years of research he has put into making something that is not only entertaining, but also educational. A true rarity in cinema these days; a captivating watch that also teaches a story that is vital to American history and also the history of equality. Not only this, but somehow, he has made what is, at its core, a film about men voting and little else, extremely enjoyable for a whole two and a half hours without any feel of it dragging. Excellent directing.

A film that is like being in school but way more fun. Proof that accurate storytelling and historical politics can be really pleasant to watch on a big screen for over two hours. Who would have thought? A gem of the biopic genre and likely to take home more than one award.

Best Bit? Seeing Daniel Day Lewis and Joseph Gordon Levitt interact as Lincoln and his son Robert was a piece of amazing acting that hits a timeless theme of the pain of parenting - something everyone can relate to, albeit from different sides of the spectrum. 

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