LINCOLN (M)(153 min)
Directed by Steven Spielberg. Starring Daniel Day Lewis, Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones.
In which Steven Spielberg takes on the mythology of possibly America's greatest president, and produces a film of such craft and burnish that an Oscar or 10 seems inevitable.
And quite right too.
Focusing only on the last months of Abraham Lincoln's life, Lincoln - the film- is the story of how the 13th Amendment, which outlawed slavery in the United States, was passed even in the teeth of great disquiet from Lincoln's political allies.
The Civil War was raging, but by 1864 it was clear the Union would prevail.
Many feared that passing the amendment, which was bitterly opposed in the Southern states, would deny the rebels an 'honourable' surrender, and prolong the war.
And so Lincoln was faced with reconciling, and then defeating, two great evils. The war must be ended, but slavery must be abolished.
Lincoln is a mighty film. It is intelligent, literate, and as long as you are prepared to sit up straight and pay attention, utterly engrossing.
Daniel Day Lewis is simply the undisputed best English speaking actor on the planet today, in a role he was born for.
Around Day Lewis, Sally Field does wonders with the much misunderstood Mary Todd-Lincoln, and Tommy Lee Jones finds a great vein of heft and comedy in the radical Thaddeus Stevens.
Spielberg - for once - eschews the melodrama and the sentiment, turns the volume down on the interminable John Williams score, and lets his performers and his crew get on with the business of making a truly great film.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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