Interesting Stuart Fact – I’ve never seen a film with Daniel Day-Lewis in it before seeing Lincoln this evening.
“But wait!” I hear you say, “That’s not in the least bit interesting”.
Well all I can say to you is that having sat through that film about the United States’ most famous president and his struggle to get the 13th Amendment – the abolition of slavery – voted through the Senate at the tail end of the American Civil War for two and a half hours, that little tidbit seems like the very definition of interesting.
Indeed, the contents of my own handkerchief would probably be more riveting to me at this stage.
And here’s why.
Thoughts – Almost No Dramatic Content
The very essence of a good film to me is a good story. This didn’t have it.
Where is the drama in knowing fine well that the vote would be passed through the senate? There is none.
If there had at least been a struggle behind it then it might have been a little bit exciting, but alas there was no drama. Lincoln needed to get some votes, so he sent some of his people to bargain with some of the swaying members on the other side of the house, and he got them.
Genuinely, that’s almost all there is to this film.
They tried to add a bit of an extra dimension to it by having a couple of lazy subplots concerning his family life; his shaky relationship with his wife, and his son’s desire to fight in the Civil War against their wishes, but neither storyline led anywhere.
And the acting wasn’t up to much either. I say that because while it was perfectly acceptable I suppose, I felt that everyone in it was performing their parts with a sort of smug ‘Well this will win me an Oscar’ type way. Urgh, please. The sad thing is though that it probably will.
Whatsmore, it felt so self-important. Obviously they had to end the film on the note that he was assassinated in Ford’s Theatre, but after having him leave his office to go there with foreshadowing spread on so thick you could taste it, they show a different theatre where some bloke breaks the news that he’s been killed to the audience. It’s as if it would be beneath them to show the actual assassination.
One other thing – the music for the film is unsurprisingly delivered by John Williams. I can’t be the only person sick to death of his highly repetitive scores. Find a new way of delivering incidental music, please!!
Stuart, You’re A Philistine!!
Some of you will be reading this and haughtily suggesting that I’m not refined enough to appreciate the supposed beauty or intellectual value of a movie like Lincoln. I must be the sort of bloke who is only interested in drivel like The Fast & The Furious or the latest big budget blockbuster.
It’s simply not true, as anyone who regularly reads my reviews will attest to; I love a good political drama or biopic and much as the next man.
No, to me, this was just dull. It offered – as I’ve already said – no dramatic content and I don’t think I learnt anything that I didn’t already know.
If I was to offer it the smallest bit of praise, I’d say the only bit that got even slightly interesting was when the vote took place, even though I knew the result.
The thing is though, if you watch shows like the West Wing or have seen supposedly dated movies like Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, you’ve seen all of this stuff done before; only you’ve seen it done immeasurably better.
Yes, the events of Lincoln are based on reality, but reality doesn’t always equate to exciting or provide value for money for the cinemagoer.
I think this just seems like the sort of film that is hoping to glide through based on who is directing, who is starring and who the subject is, rather than on any genuine merit.
Should You Go To See Lincoln.
The film isn’t bad, but it is dull, with practically no redeeming features.
That it gets 7.9 on imdb either shows that I’m misjudging its supposed brilliance, or it’s getting a blindly patriotic American and or Spielbergian vote.