Wednesday, February 13, 2013


I do my best to allow myself to see one beard-stroking non-violent movie per year if only to prove to myself that I’m not completely mentally lost in a sea of endless pain and suffering while haunted by the screams of the men I’ve sent or led to their deaths. So this year I went to see Lincoln, Senior Spielbergo’s epic biopic of a man troubled by nightmares and haunted by the screams of the men he sent to their deaths. Thankfully for my own mental state perhaps, Steve focused his sight on the internal political wrangling of January 1865 as Abraham Lincoln tried to get the House of Representatives to ratify the 13th amendment to the constitution, abolishing slavery as well as bringing an end to a terrible civil war and reunifying the troubled nation.

This is a talking film. There’s a lot of talking, posturing, arguing, storytelling and speech-making. One copy of the script could be used instead of log or two on the fire for the evening. There must be at over 60 speaking roles from start to finish. The most ‘exciting’ moment in the movie is where they go through the entire House of Representatives individually getting them to vote by saying 'yay' or 'nay', which some do more colourfully than others, but even this is still more talking! All that aside, what they are actually saying on whole is worth listening to and you’ll be glad you heard it.

Daniel Day Lewis gives us the performance of his career as the man himself and without hesitation I’d hand him the Oscar for his warm, kindly yet deeply intelligent portrayal of a truly troubled man. Tommy Lee Jones gets as much screen time as Republican Congressional leader Thaddeus Stevens who rallied his people to the cause. An ageing Sally Field, without a single dollop of make-up for the role, portrayed Mary Todd-Lincoln, broken-hearted wife, daily coping with the loss of one of their sons. There's far too many other roles to detail here but I will commend Jared Harris as General Grant, James Spader as William Bilbo and Bruce McGill as Secretary Edwin Stanton.

If there is any fault with this movie it's that Spielberg is literally reaching out and demanding Oscars. It's very interesting to compare this to the last movie that seemed to do the same thing - The Kings Speech. The main difference is that the British are much nicer about making their demands, insofar as you can practically hear them saying 'please' and 'thank you' after making them. Spielberg doesn't have the same manners and it's borderline vulgar. I'm by no means saying Lincoln is not deserving of it's accolades but I think audiences who elect to see this are intelligent enough to know it's worthy without a speech or John Williams reminding us every five minutes.

Final Verdict: It's unlikely anyone could 'enjoy' this more than Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter but it's seemingly a little more historically accurate if that's your thing. I can at least acknowledge that the acting overall is far better in this movie which truly humanizes a man of legendary status.

Colonel Creedon rating: ****

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