Going to the movies is a somewhat expensive but nostalgic act that many around the world continue to indulge in while carrying hope to be entertained or at the very least find some shred of enjoyment in their experience. Now whether or not the proverbial visual nuggets on display are indeed worthwhile is wholly up to the individual audience member. Usually (if you’re lucky) they’ll be some heated debate about it afterward and that’s exactly what Lincoln succeeds in inspiring, even if the film itself comes off as a somewhat masterful but slightly unfocused work.
This movie seeks to explore a very specific era of one of America’s most cherished leaders and the results are nothing short of moving. From the directing to the acting and finally the score this is a fine example of historical film-making that should easily attract fans of the genre. Your opinions and emotions following the closing credits are not going to focus in on the texture but rather the context as you respond to the sweeping notions represented here. This flick is as much about an imperfect union as it is about the imperfect man who lead this nation in perhaps its darkest hours.
The feature was helmed with the steady vision of Steven Spielberg who employed a soft but natural color pallet to accentuate the time period while offering up an almost sentimental look. From a visual standpoint there are several captivating shots that show all the actors in intriguing lights. But that also accentuates a distinct flaw in the piece, because there are so many side characters and sub-plots the movie occasionally loses its focus. To the director’s credit everything ties back into the main plot but the after affects still lead to an already bloated run time.
The proverbial captain of this vessel may have successfully steered the ship but its the players on scene that make this movie worthwhile. First and foremost is the masterful performance by Daniel Day-Lewis, who successfully transforms himself into a whole new person in order to embody the 16th President of the United States. His voice and mannerisms seem almost foreign as the actor shows a leader who had integrity and impeccable strength even as he struggled against his own demons. There’s a tenderness and fierceness behind every word as our protagonist rambles and shares stories that truly carry the movie through its climax. Beyond the main attraction Sally Field, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Tommy Lee Jones among many others turn in some exemplary performances that add to the thematic atmosphere in their own right.
When we reach the ending the trials and tribulations presented on the silver screen bare an uncanny resemblance to the heated arguments we find in countries around the world today. Yes the discussions have changed and entered new untested areas but the heart of discord, concession and movement toward a more perfect union in a wholly imperfect world remains more or less the same. For that reason and the performances behind the story itself, Lincoln wholeheartedly earns my seal of approval. Recommended.