Movie review: Lincoln

Last updated 05:00 23/02/2013

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Having heard great things about Lincoln, I was bitterly disappointed after the supposed Spielberg blockbuster ground to an eventual halt some two hours and 30 minutes after it began. While it was not quite up to a Peter Jackson epic length, it felt like a whole lot longer.

For a start, it is difficult to understand the movie's purpose or focus. One may well assume that given the title, it may provide a biographical insight into Abraham Lincoln's life. However, the movie begins at a time when the civil war is coming to an end, some two years following Lincoln's delivery of the Gettysburg Address. Spielberg does manage to include a recount of the speech in the opening scenes of the movie when it is recited word for word by two African-American soldiers - hardly the most believable scenario.

It also only brushes briefly over Lincoln's eventual assassination, one minute he's walking off down a hallway as a hero, nek minnit he's lying on a bed having been shot.  

The movie should really have been called "The Thirteenth Amendment", as it laboriously follows the passing of the bill to emancipate slaves, driven by Lincoln and his fellow republicans. The story is told through the pompous speeches of politicians with sub plots of Lincoln's family, mainly his neurotic wife played by Sally Field. One can only assume Sally was going for an Oscar as her delusional behaviour and constant moaning of headaches, which causes Lincoln to threaten to put her in the loony-bin, leaves the audience begging for that to indeed happen to remove her from the story line.

Perhaps the greatest disappointment of the movie was the make-up department. I know this sounds odd but bear with me here. I was most looking forward to Daniel Day Lewis' portrayal of Lincoln, as he is a fantastic actor and truly encapsulates his characters. Anyone who has seen There Will Be Blood can attest to this.

However, the efforts to make him look like pictures if Lincoln (which, to be fair, he did) came at the expense of being able to actually see his face. He was so covered in plastercine and make-up that any anger, stress or excitement that Day Lewis attempted to portray was completely masked. Unfortunately, instead of looking like the great historical figure that Lincoln was, he looked like a washed out, expressionless plastic doll with a beard.

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If you want a moving, insightful movie about the life and times of Lincoln then this movie isn't for you. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Killer would probably inspire a more rousing response out of an audience.

If you wanted a good historical perspective on a hugely important amendment to the United States constitution, then maybe this would quench your thirst. I'd rather watch the History Channel.

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