Tuesday, 19 February 2013
Spielberg’s latest film Lincoln, based on the historic last four months of the legendary American President, was a testimony to both the best and worst in the filmmaker. At its best, it was richly detailed, comprised of noteworthy storytelling, was technically sound and kept one engaged despite its 150-minute length. But, at its worst, it was overly sentimental, didn’t manage to eschew any formal conventionality, and was so straight-jacketed that it almost seemed an underhanded display of hero-worship. The film’s basic intent was to chronicle Lincoln’s efforts and final success, against all odds, challenges and oppositions, to get the iconic 13th Amendment that would abolish any form of slavery that was rampant in the US then, and it did that sincerely. Though a law cannot really obliterate racism, it at least began a journey towards equal rights and opportunities for the African American folks of the country. Despite the lumbering pace, Spielberg managed to keep one engaged through regular interjections of humour and dramatic moments, even if they were, at times, at the cost of sacrificing complexity and profundity on account of the rather straightforward history lessons. In other words, it was easy to like, but was mostly lacking in anything further. On the acting front, however, one can’t complain – Daniel Day-Lewis, the eerie resemblance apart, provided a layered and restrained performance cappturing the increasing weariness as well as the quiet resolve, while Tommy Lee Jones’ was the more flamboyant. Sally Field and James Spader, too, were good as Lincoln’s wife and the man entrusted with the dirty and often comical job of liaising and lobbying for the law.
Director: Steven Spielberg
Genre: Drama/Historical Drama/Political Drama/Docu-Fiction/Biopic