Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Great film: Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln: Abolishing slavery by constitutional provisions settles the fate for all coming time. Not only of the millions now in bondage, but of unborn millions to come. Two votes stand in its way. These votes must be procured.
William Seward: We need two yeses. Three abstentions. Four yeses and one more abstention and the amendment will pass.
Abraham Lincoln: You've got a night and a day and a night; several perfectly good hours! Now get the hell out of here and get them!
James Ashley: Yes. But how?
Abraham Lincoln: Buzzard's guts, man! I am the President of the United States of America! Clothed in immense power! You will procure me these votes. 
There are five reasons I have not yet put out my annual Best-Movies-of-the-Year, and Lincoln is one of those reasons I am yet to post it; and I am glad I am yet to post it, because I saw it almost immediately after Flight and both films introduced me to the sort of acting that makes me appreciate film making as an art.

I'd rather stare at this poster for an hour than watch Abraham Lincoln: Vampire  Hunter
Daniel Day Lewis deserves every best actor award on the planet (for the year), because he's portrayal of Abraham Lincoln is among the best performances in recent cinema history - with the likes of Ledger's The Joker in The Dark Knight, Brando and De Niro's Vito Corleone in The Godfather: Part 1 and 2, Adrien Brody in The Painist among others. His presence on-screen screams greatness, and the way he channelled Abe's witty, calm, patient and gaunt presence echoes greatness. Day Lewis is not your typical actor, having starred in twenty films in a career span of forty one years; he has been known to carefully pick out his roles and go on to masterfully deliver them, that's why I wasn't shaken when I heard he had been cast for the film, that and the really wonderful poster that was released, which mere looking at beats the disastrous waste of time and money that was released earlier - Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.

Day Lewis frame is also to be praised, as he projected the strain of leadership in his gaunt look, a sign of the stress of leadership especially during the time of war, civil war in particular. Yet, as scary as his frame may have seemed, his calm dialogues and wittiness were soothing.

Steven Spielberg probably deserves an award for his role in the direction of this beautiful film, I truly respect how he refused to water down the gruesome scenes of the war which in a manner reminded me of Anthony Minghella's in Cold Mountain, and that scene were Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character, Robert Lincoln sees the soldiers disposing of severed limbs behind/beside the hospital was really scary. But most of all, the manner in which the politics was portrayed on-screen is legendary, the fact that it was one of the greatest achievements of American history, abolishing slavery, provided a marvellous tone for the film and Mr. Spielberg did not get distracted from it, as he did not over-emphasized the assassination of the president nor did he undermine it; a feat of brilliance.

The supporting cast for this film is vast and everyone from Sally Field's unstable and maternal Mary Todd Lincoln , to David Sthrathairn forceful Sec. of State Seward, to Tommy Lee Jones as the Radical Congressional Leader Stevens, whose particular on-screen transformation from villain to hero in the move for the amendment, to Gulliver McGrath whose role as Tad Lincoln, Abe's youngest son, shed light on a child's mannerism in a place such as the White House, a role I particularly admired because it viewed Lincoln as a father too.

The crew for the film deserves much praise, from make-up (who did quite an exquisite job on Day Lewis) to costume, to production/set designers and many others. But special commendations go to Tony Kushner, who wrote the amazing script, with some really powerful dialogues that literally brought tears to my eyes (something that rarely happens); and John William's majestic score for the movie is breathtaking (which you'll hear as you watch the trailer below).

Lincoln shows how greatness is defined in film making and the cast and crew have my deepest gratitude for bringing to life such a marvellous project. Little wonder Lincoln's heading the Oscars in nominations, eleven.

Opened: November 09, 2012 Runtime: 2 hr. 30 min. Genre: Drama, History Rated: PG-13