Watching Lincoln

February 2, 2013

Finally got round to watching Lincoln last night – finally in the sense that it’s been available to moviegoers across the water for months and has generated an unavoidable hype. Expectations were high, and were largely met. Daniel Day-Lewis is just as astonishing as he’s said to be, simply an incredible example of an actor allowing himself to disappear into a role. The dialogue is sparkling and surprisingly for a film about such a momentous time there’s plenty of laugh-out-loud humour. Tommy Lee-Jones overacts with Pacino-esque brio, and the supporting cast swarms with brilliance: Jackie Earle Haley as the Vice President of the Confederacy and Jared Harris as Ulysses S. Grant were my personal favourites. The person I watched the film with was distracted from fully similar enjoyment by the schmaltz, which was fairly frequent – stirring music, dramatic lighting, portentous tones – what you might call ‘West Wing 39 moments’: the point a minute from the end of almost every episode of Sorkin’s series when things would take a turn for the patriotic and soppy. There’s no pleasing some people.


Waiting for Lincoln

November 18, 2012

If I was already pretty darn excited about seeing Spielberg’s and Daniel Day-Lewis’ Lincoln, then reading the passage below in an article about the film in The New Republic has left me even more convinced that this will be a cinematic event to be savoured equally for its authenticity as its other qualities. But why on earth are British movie-goers being forced to wait until January, thereby missing out on the frisson of drawing parallels with the politics of today?

The cred­its admit to use of Doris Kearns Good­win’s book, Team of Rivals, not just as a way of claim­ing bona fides, but in sug­gest­ing that the words used—cir­cum­lo­cu­to­ry, deco­rous but pun­gent, and far more elu­sive than most movie dia­logue—come from doc­u­ments and mem­oirs.

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