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Old November 20 2012, 08:30 PM   #11
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Re: Lincoln: Comments and reviews

A little sampling of dissentient opinions:

Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln is the latest attempt to justify the president who mounted a counter-revolution to the Revolution of 1776, thus re-establishing the supremacy of the government over the people.
But the reaction of fans and critics hasn’t exactly been what Spielberg expected. For starters, Daniel Day-Lewis’s portrayal of Lincoln fails to create a believable, sympathetic character. One fan echoed the reaction of many others: “Is it me or does Abe Lincoln sound a lot like Mr Burns?”

Then, when the 13th Amendment is finally up for passage, Spielberg goes through the calling of the role of the entire House of Representatives (by state, since each state gets one vote) and this ponderous scene makes one yearn to watch grass grow. Worse, you won't see a better example of overacting anywhere than by the people doing the voting. Astonishingly, when it's finally passed, the entire House of Representatives breaks out in song, almost a production number as if this were a Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire musical...
Forget all the adulatory plaudits you might read, this could be the most boring movie ever made.

But this is a movie about Abraham Lincoln that focuses only on the last four months of his life and stays pretty much rooted in Washington and his Cabinet meetings.
There's one startling, savage battle — more brawl than warfare — but it's over quickly, within the movie's first few minutes (and we never return to the conflict). The president's historic speeches are mostly avoided, too. Even the assassination happens offscreen.
Instead, the movie takes as its main interest the passage of the 13th Amendment, which outlawed slavery, and as its theme, how ignoble means (patronage, bribes, outright threats) are sometimes needed to accomplish worthy ends.
This is certainly interesting material, historically. Politically, too — the movie feels like an expensive, personal plea from Spielberg to President Obama to start fighting dirty and playing for keeps.
But it fails to engage dramatically.

Okay. So Lincoln, Steven Spielberg’s bloated $50-million history lesson about Abraham Lincoln’s final days in office as he attempted, by hook or crook, to abolish slavery, is noble, civic-minded, exhaustingly researched, immaculately detailed, crowded with a parade of cameos by good actors who look like Smith Brothers cough drop models, and noteworthy for another critic-proof performance by Daniel Day-Lewis in the title role. It is all of those things. But Lincoln is also a colossal bore. It is so pedantic, slow-moving, sanitized and sentimental that I kept pinching myself to stay awake—which, like the film itself, didn’t always work.

Accidentally cut a link for one quote, but reading this stuff once was enough, won't go looking for the website again, sorry. If you're really interested, copy the whole quote into Google (in quotation marks,) then hit search. That should work.
The people of this country need regime change here, not abroad.
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