Lincoln

2012

Action / Biography / Drama / History / War

658
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 90%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 80%
IMDb Rating 7.4 10 222054

Synopsis


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Cast

Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Robert Lincoln
Adam Driver as Samuel Beckwith
James Spader as W.N. Bilbo
Lee Pace as Fernando Wood
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1020.90 MB
1280*720
English
PG-13
23.976 fps
2hr 30 min
P/S 16 / 107
2.00 GB
1920*1080
English
PG-13
23.976 fps
2hr 30 min
P/S 6 / 64

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Sergio Campanale 7 / 10

Political portrait that walk a strange line between hard fact and romantic sentiment

Abraham Lincoln is one of those mythic figures, like Gandhi, El Cid, Che Guevara, Garibaldi, Churchill, Nelson, Washington, Richard the Lionheart, Princess Diana, who have become legends of folklore, legends which usually hide decidedly grubbier and less pleasant realities. However, because of our Human need for heroes to look up to and inspire us, we usually "print the legend" rather than the truth.

Most media representations of "honest Abe" falls into this latter category, as best exemplified in the literal cartoon that was last year's "Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter" which brought things into sharper relief by playing it all in deadly earnest. Of course Lincoln lived only a couple of lifetimes at remove from us, so the truth is there, but we choose to ignore it because we want to believe in this great noble hero who "freed the black man" from the sadistic, demonic evil deformed Southerners, as simple a battle between "Good" and "Evil" as the equally misrepresented WWII, a man driven by an all-conquering desire for equality so strong it even has its own stirring accompaniment of tear jerking violins and moving horns wherever it goes! It's a pleasing fantasy, especially for rich white people who like to pat themselves on the back for how noble and good they are, even though it relegates Black people to simpletons, smiling happy children free of any adult sin or virtue, perpetual victims who need nice enlightened white folk to make their destinies for them.

I approached this film with some trepidation; sure that Spielberg the great romantic would give us more of the same and then some. However the film walks a very strange tightrope indeed. Taken from D K Godwin's dry text, it spends a lot of time looking at the political machinations and double dealing that got the 13th amendment (banning slavery) passed, and is a highly instructive lesson about how government and democracy actually works, including bribery corruption and outright lies. In turn it has been adapted by playwright Tony Kusher into what is really a filmed play with little real action and everything confined to a few room like sets where dialogue carries everything. This is all then filmed by Spielberg, who injects the admittedly very restrained production with jarring and intrusive stabs of pure schmaltz, usually whenever the evil of slavery is brought up, or one of the many prominently (and highly anachronistically) positioned Black faces steps to make some clichéd speech. These Spielbergian moments can be easily identified because whenever they appear in between the political machinations and congressional double dealings, John Williams stirring flag waving music strikes up to pull those old heartstrings! (You could almost invent a drinking game around them, one that would probably get you very drunk indeed) So really, it's two very separate movies, the Godwin/Kusher political lesson being the biggest, with the Spielberg schmaltz in support.

To its credit the film looks authentic, including the dim candle and gaslight level lighting which bathes everything in semi darkness, and most of the characters act, speak and think like people from the 1860s rather than people from 2012 in costume (Save for the aforementioned anachronistic Spielbergian romance moments) both of which are very rare in historical film.

This being a stage play in all but name, it is the actors who dominate, and here we have some of the best. Daniel Day Lewis gives us a powerful version of the mythical Lincoln we know and love (rather than the less pleasant real one) with his homespun tales and folksy charm, stirring passion and quiet determination, and he is gifted by an existing physical resemblance. Sally Field creates a powerful character our of Mary Lincoln, the only character to shine a less than positive light on her famous husband, strong willed and frustrated, all too aware of her position as the wife of a legend, a woman who pushes for the 13th largely because it will end the war and keep her son from harm. Tommy Lee Jones incarnates radical abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens, a man too extreme for his time, with the fire of the old TLJ we haven't seen in a while, the brutish, frightening thug like alpha male who can intimidate and crush those beneath him like bugs, the man with the lashing wit and grandiose gestures, and it's nice to see him back again. David Straithern, another powerful presence, plays Lincoln's fixer William Seward. His character is very similar to the one he plays in the "Bourne" series, the intelligent committed patriotic manipulator who uses downright shady and suspect methods for 'the greater good', expect here we are expected to side with him. His chief agent is played with amoral glee by an almost unrecognisable James Spader, bribing dead duck Democrats with lucrative posts for the 'yes' vote in a series of light hearted vignettes. Jason Gordon Levitt appears as Abe's eldest son Robert, determined to enlist against his father's wishes, whom even a gruesome pit full of severed limbs can't fully dissuade. Legendary Hal Holbrook lends gravitas as voice of reason Preston Blair while Jared Harris effectively incarnates another legend, General Ulysses S. Grant for a few vital scenes.

For a Spielberg film about war, there is virtually no action, and those expecting a big spectacular will leave disappointed. This is a history lesson starring famous names written by a playwright adapting a political analyst's dissertation on Congressional politics, directed by the master of romanticism and sentimentality, with a lot of unpleasant truth's airbrushed out and replaced by the legends we would like to believe are actually true in their place. It won't be for all tastes, but it is worth a look for those with a little patience.

Reviewed by Lloyd Bayer 8 / 10

By its very making, director Steven Spielberg has written the greatest obituary for one of the greatest leaders of the modern world.

The very mention of a Steven Spielberg project and everyone goes bug-eyed in excitement and curiosity; everyone from casual movie goers to mainstream critics to cinema house managers. Now reunite Spielberg with long standing producing partner Kathleen Kennedy, throw in a multi-award winning star cast lead by Daniel Day-Lewis and a story about one of the most revered Presidents in US history and you have an Academy Award nominated movie by default. Lincoln has all these fine qualities and a whole lot more. This is not just a great film for the reasons stated above, or because it is very easy to praise a film directed by Spielberg. This is also not just a masterpiece or a very important and powerful film for the sake of calling it so. From the drawing boards to its last take, Lincoln is every bit exquisitely fashioned filmmaking — an amalgamation of art, literature, politics, society, history, and most importantly, humanism.

Here's a brief re-cap to get you up to speed on the relevance of the American Civil War (1861 to 1865) as depicted in the film. The United States of America is divided as cotton rich states of the South refuse to phase out slavery. After Republican candidate Abraham Lincoln secures the Presidency, almost a dozen states in the South pull out of the 'Union' and become the Confederate States of America. As a bloody civil war rages between North and South, the film's story begins with President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. This is the Commander and Chief of the armed forces calling for slavery to be abolished in all states by seeking a landmark constitutional amendment. For this to happen, Lincoln must procure enough votes through Congress for a stay order on making slavery illegal anywhere in America. Challenged with factions within his Republican party, Lincoln becomes his own worst enemy in a daunting personal crisis: save thousands of lives by ending the war or prolong the war in favour of ending slavery.

Running at 150 minutes, this film is a slow burner with extensive dialogues and frequent courthouse debates; but like the trudging power of a steam locomotive, Lincoln pushes forward with remarkable pace while never losing sight of its destination. Piloting this powerhouse of a film is Daniel Day-Lewis in easily his finest hour as a method actor. His Lincoln is tall and bent over with war-stressed fatigue and a shrill voice, but armed with a quiver full of wisdom and remedial anecdotes for when push comes to shove. Throughout the narrative Lincoln is torn within as he manages his duties as the President of a nation, as a father who has lost a son, and as a husband who must confide in his wife when decisions become complex. This is also when I must mention Sally Field in another fine delivery as First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln and the epitome of the phrase 'Behind every great man is a woman'. Field's Mary is a tragic character whose depiction of a bleeding heart is memorable in a scene where she confronts Lincoln as the father of their children, not a man with immense power. With strong characterisation forming the flesh and blood of the film, you can also expect riveting roles from Tommy Lee Jones and David Strathairn, besides a multitude of top actors.

This is one of the most important films of the year and perhaps even the times we live in. By its very making, Spielberg has written the greatest obituary for one of the greatest leaders of the modern world. Lincoln is to Steven Spielberg what Gandhi is to Richard Attenborough; the commonality being crucial moments in history, rather than a history lesson per se. If I have to nit-pick, I suspect there could be historical anomalies in the narrative if this film is solely considered a biopic. This is why I strongly recommend the film as a political drama rather than a componential biography. Is it safe to say that President Abraham Lincoln was a self-made man? That he was extremely intelligent despite dropping out of school? That he changed the future of an entire nation? That Barak Obama is the current President of the United States of America because Abraham Lincoln abolished slavery? If you said 'yes' to any of these questions then Lincoln is more than just an Academy Award magnet—it is a landmark film made by people reiterating that freedom is a birth right for people everywhere.

Reviewed by cinemajesty 8 / 10

A Master's Hand Directive

Film Review: "Lincoln" (2012)

Entirely built on Daniel Day-Lewis out-standing performance as the 16th President of The United States Abraham Lincoln (b. 1809) in office from 1861 to 1865 under the most violent Civil War with more than 500,000 soldiers deaths over differences in the way of living between "The South" and "The North", when Academy-Award-Winning director Steven Spielberg summons up the horrors of the independence aftermath in one fulminate shot of a puddle-drowning soldier with an opponent's foot in his face in the striking opening scene for "Lincoln" that then delivers a historically-accurate biopic picture for the ages written by playwright Tony Kushner, who had been sharing the script for "Munich" (2005) with DreamWorks Pictures, igniting on plenty dialogue for literally transforming vocal strings by Day-Lewis in ultra-stark, atmospheric as darkness-striving cinematography and dust and smoke pooling production design to indulge on.

Director Steven Spielberg brings passion and skills to the project that paces through a fairly-receivable 140-Minute-Editorial by long-term "Team Spielberg" member Michael Kahn, who then utilizes the elegant visuals conceived by cinematographer Janusz Kaminski in scene-covering Spielberg-signature, shot-combining manners coming from a master-director's hand, whose only flaw has become to shy away from physical violence towards the second half of this highly-dramatic picture on a legendary as biographical-romanticized character of "Lincoln", when 12 Academy Award Nominations at the 85th edition of the Oscars Ceremony in February 2013 are righteously-earned, but can only be translated in two wins for the Leading Actor Daniel Day-Lewis and utmost authentic production design by Rick Carter due to a highly-competitive season, where pictures as "Life of Pi" directed by Ang Lee and "Django Unchained" directed by Quentin Tarantino just had been daring more in their individual film-making executions.

"Lincoln" must be enjoyed several times to fully comprehend its glory with a sublime supporting cast ranging from James Spader as votes-hunting, scenes-owning character of B.N. Bilbo, Sally Field as close-to a nervous breakdown wife Mary Todd Lincoln, Tommy Lee Jones as reptile-looking Thaddeus Stevens and my personal favorite scene of meeting heart-breaking Jackie Earle Haley's interpretation of historic Southerner Alexander Stephens, when Southern surrenders are nigh in a slowly-received second half of this unless railroading empathetic motion picture, when audiences must realize that fighting for a cause as abandon slavery has only one winner that is the people.

© 2018 Felix Alexander Dausend (Cinemajesty Entertainments LLC)

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