Lincoln

****½

It sucked!It'll be on cable.I liked it.It was good!It was awesome!! (2 People gave this 5.00 out of 5)
Loading...Loading...

Before you sits a man, not a monument.

Swift shot:  Whether you love Lincoln or consider him a tyrant, Daniel Day-Lewis brings an eerie reality to the man that can’t be equaled, all within the confines of attempting to pass the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution.  With an impeccable quality bringing up a haunted past, Spielberg and Director of Photography Kaminski paint a history lesson that compels cineamtic respect.

The moment you say the man’s name, Lincoln, a bombardment of mental images are immediately conjured.  He was a great man to some, reviled man to others, yet he was very much that . . . a man.  A man who was clothed with immense power, as he reminds someone in the film at one point, but also a grieving father, a husband and man gifted with wit and humor with which few could compete.  And Daniel Day-Lewis, as you might have expected, embodies these qualities masterfully.  In our time, he is probably one of the best actors to ever live.  He takes an almost mundane portion of a man’s life and builds a crescendo of conflict whilst managing to endure an even tempo throughout the immense pressure and political intrigues surrounding this moment in a man’s premature twilight.  While his machinations are grandiose, there is a real humble quality to Day-Lewis’ Lincoln that borders on the super-natural.  Even his odd, high-pitched voice was calculated to a historical perfection.

It may sound strange to think of Lincoln as reviled, but in his time he was very much reviled by an entire half of the nation . . . a nation at conflict with itself.  Even as a husband to Mary who was effortlessly portrayed by Sally Field, Lincoln and the nation were at odds with the slaughter of innocents (on both sides).  Yet the harsh paternal nature required by great men to make sacrifices out of human beings, led to the bloody gates of Heaven for a cause few could argue has any more noble parallels, was evident in nearly every scene with Day-Lewis as Lincoln.

All these grandiose calculations are present in Lincoln, but handled with a subtle nuance that some may find boring and stilted at times.  But make no mistake, these sequences are painstakingly molded to be mundane to give the viewer an earnest understanding of the daily life of Lincoln.  Even the lighting was sourced using only light available for the time, to set the contrast with our reality.  We are looking from the future, he was living in the present.  His chief goal was to pass the 13th Amendment, and like all great politicians, he wasn’t afraid to hedge his bets and compromise when necessary.  But the 13th . . . he was willing to do everything short of outright murder to get it passed before the war’s end.

His “ally” in the theater of Congress was the ‘Radical Republican’ Thaddeus Stevens who believed that there should be no compromise with the hated Democrats who forced the persecution of a war he felt was bloody, yet necessary, to secure freedom . . . real freedom, to all men regardless of race.  Tommy Lee Jones doesn’t just wear the foppish wig of the man, he relished playing a tyranical “good guy.”  It’s hard to describe the character of Stevens any other way, he was mean and delighted in making others squirm in his presence, yet he shared a burning desire to see America free for all.  His presence on the floor and in the film was as necessary as Lincoln’s.

Perhaps one of the most mollifying scenes showing Lincoln as the most powerful man on the planet, yet utterly powerless, centers around his proud, and foolish, son, Robert (JG-L).  JG-L doesn’t get a lot of screen time, and yet he manages to sequester Lincoln as a frightened father.  Reminding us of that unspoken facet of fatherhood that many of us will face, when a boy becomes a man, his will is unstoppable.  Even the President of the United States of America can’t compete with that, nor the tears of a mother, wracked with regrets and melancholy.  Truly, Mary is the most tragic figure in the film when it reaches the conclusion we all know is coming.  The war ends, but with it comes a terrible price and the nation suffers.

Lincoln is a film that a few of the ADHD audience members may find too ‘boring’ and not ‘engaging enough’ to warrant seeing in theaters.  But while this film requires some discipline to enjoy, you will be the better for having watched it, because it doesn’t make a saint out of a man, it shows a man who did the best he could with what destiny placed at his doorstep.  Few could fault a man who was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to see that HIS nation did not perish from the Earth and that all men would be free.


8 Responses to “Lincoln”

  1. H-Man Says:

    One question: Who, in this day and age, would consider Lincoln a tyrant?

  2. RickSwift Says:

    Ask the hundreds of thousands of people currently signing secession petitions with the White House today. I wager a few of them, disregarding the slavery issue, might consider Lincoln a tyrant.

  3. Ryan Says:

    I think if you read ALL off the things that Lincoln did instead of the things he's PERCEIVED to have done, you might be one of those people too. He's not quite the man we've been brainwashed into thinking he was in school. I'm sure you probably haven't heard much about these….Lincoln throwing most of the Maryland legislature into a military prison, trying to arrest Chief Justice Roger Taney because he embarrassed the Lincoln administration in a court ruling, or having the Secretary of State operate a secret police force to silence Lincoln's critics. Or, arresting Chicago newspaper editors who criticized the tyrant's policies; instituting an unconstitutional income tax and a constitutionally unauthorized and unprecedented draft (with an exemption for the rich!); and happily endorsing the war crimes of Grant and Sherman as Grant shelled the civilian populace of Vicksburg and Sherman burned Atlanta when there were only woman and children there….
    http://www.lewrockwell.com/dilorenzo/dilorenzo16….

    Sorry to hijack your thread Ricky…. :)

  4. RickSwift Says:

    Interesting stuff, Ryan, thank you for sharing. What I think is fascinating as a film critic is that Day-Lewis played a character in another film that was directly involved in the Draft Riots in NYC. Did people forget that?

  5. @IRATEFILMS Says:

    Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy
    “We are absolutely thrilled and astonished with the 12 nominations. It is
    such a tribute to the work of those who joined us in this 12-year journey
    to bring LINCOLN to the screen. We humbly thank the Academy members who
    honored so many of us.”

  6. @IRATEFILMS Says:

    Tony Kushner –
    “I'm tremendously honored to be a nominee in the company of so many writers and filmmakers whose work I admire. I'm very grateful to Steven and Kathy, to Daniel, Sally, Tommy Lee and the whole cast, to Rick, Joanna, Janusz, Mike and John and everyone who made Lincoln happen. I'm overwhelmed by the Academy's response to the film. I heard that I'd been nominated while waiting to take off on a plane from JFK to LAX. James Gandolfini, who's sitting in front of me, gave me a hug and a kiss, so I'm about as happy as can be. ”

  7. @IRATEFILMS Says:

    Joanna Johnston
    “I’m thrilled and honored to be nominated, it was an extraordinary experience with a remarkable team who are all part of this recognition. It is my first nomination and I’m so happy to be part of this unique body of talent.”

  8. @rickswift Says:

    Sally Field –

    “I'm spinning and beyond thrilled on so many levels. To be included in this amazing group of extraordinary craftsman and exquisite talents has been an honor in itself. But now for us all to receive so much recognition from the Academy I'm deeply appreciative and overwhelmed, and basically, I still can't believe I got the role."

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.