Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood), Sally Field (Forrest Gump), Tommy Lee Jones (Men in Black)
Director: Steven Spielberg (War Horse)
Writer: Tony Kushner (Munich)
Release Date: 9 November (US), 25 January (UK)
Spielberg’s long gestating biopic about the freer of the slaves has finally reaches British shores. Is it made of pure Oscar gold, or is it just bait?
Being a British person, I don’t have an encyclopaedic history of the life and works of Abraham Lincoln but I know the basics. Luckily, the film covers just about enough of it that it is understandable to an uninformed audience. However, that doesn’t stop the movie from being sluggish. This film is far too long by a good half hour and could have been easily cut down without missing too much. That’s not to say that the movie is bad; in fact, when it’s good it’s amazing. But there were far too many moments where I started to get restless and wanted things to move on. To worsen these matters, the film has a great ending point but then prattles on pointlessly for another 15 minutes just so we can see Lincoln’s death (c’mon, that’s not a spoiler!). We didn’t need to see that; the movie had accomplished its goal by that point.
Spielberg has assembled a massive cast for this film, so much so that great respected actors get relegated to measly roles in some cases. Regardless, everyone is really good. Praising a Day-Lewis performance is as expected as the sun setting, but it is really good anyway. He commands every scene he’s in and truly inhabits this character more than anyone who has ever played the role. Sally Field is also great as his wife, whilst Tommy Lee Jones shines in his supporting role that provides some great drama and even a little comedy.
You generally know going into a Spielberg movie how it’s going to feel, but that never stops it from being beautiful. They’ve really managed to capture the feel of the period, from the costumes to the sets. The cinematography here is really good and keeps the film flowing even during its slow moments, whilst John Williams supplies a familiar but still fitting and grandiose score.
Overall, Lincoln is exactly the kind of movie that appeals to the Academy, but not so much for me. Maybe it’s because I’m not American, maybe it’s because I’m too young, but it didn’t appeal to me so much. It is worth seeing and does deserve some awards come Oscar night, but I have no really want to ever watch it again.
FINAL VERDICT: 8/10