Thursday, 31 January 2013

Film Review: "Lincoln" (2012).




"With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations." A passage from President Lincoln’s second inaugural speech sums up the essence and theme of Lincoln. This American historical drama film directed and produced by Steven Spielberg, based in part on Doris Kearns Goodwin's biography of Lincoln, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, and is set during the American Civil War and President Lincoln's tumultuous final months in office and his life. The country is divided by the war and, as the carnage on the battlefields continues, the president focuses his efforts on a course of action designed to end the fighting. At the same time, he is on a collision course with many members of his own cabinet in his bid to pass the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and abolish slavery by the United States House of Representatives. He needs the courage and determination to push through with his plans at a critical moment in American history that will change the course forever in January 1865

Lincoln features an ensemble cast of Daniel Day-Lewis as President Abraham Lincoln, Sally Field as First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln, Gloria Reuben as Elizabeth Keckley, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Robert Todd Lincoln, David Strathairn as Secretary of State William H. Seward, Bruce McGill as Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, Tommy Lee Jones as Radical Republican Congressional leader Thaddeus Stevens, Hal Holbrook as Francis Preston Blair, Michael Stuhlbarg as Kentucky Democratic Congressman George Yeaman, James Spader as Republican Party operative William N. Bilbo, Tim Blake Nelson as lobbyist Richard Schell, Jackie Earle Haley as Confederate States Vice President Alexander H. Stephens and Jared Harris as Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant. Day-Lewis' performance was phenomenal, the hallmark of the man, performed so powerfully by Day-Lewis is calm, self-confidence, patience and a willingness to play politics in a realistic way. Lincoln's concern about his wife's emotional instability and the strains of a wartime presidency... produce a portrait that is intimate but also decorous, drawn with extraordinary sensitivity and insight and focused, above all, on Lincoln's character as a politician. Doris Kearns Goodwin described Lincoln in his final months as a leader with "the rare wisdom of a temperament that consistently displayed an uncommon magnanimity to those who opposed him". Producer Kathleen Kennedy described Day-Lewis's performance as "remarkable" after 75% of the filming had been completed, and said, "Every day you get the chills thinking that Lincoln is sitting there right in front of you."

Lincoln is one of Spielberg’s best film since Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan. It’s brilliantly acted, written, directed and shot. The film will take its place in cultural history and remain there for all time. Due to it’s narrative boldness, visual audacity, and emotional directness. One of the best films of the year!

Simon says Lincoln receives:

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