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Lincoln Post Release - Page 2

post #51 of 65

Extended thoughts, in my typical laundry list format:

 

-There was a point where I stopped thinking of Daniel Day-Lewis as playing Lincoln and started thinking of him embodying Lincoln. I can absolutely believe that this "version" of the man is the one who existed. I especially LOVED that Spielberg, Kushner and Day-Lewis weren't afraid to show him at weak moments, such as when he loses his temper at Mary, admitting he doesn't know what the future will bring, or slapping Robert.

 

-The supporting cast is of course excellent from top to bottom. Sally Field does some of her best work in YEARS as the multifaceted Mary Todd Lincoln; I especially love the scene where she talks to Thaddeus Stevens at the party, and we see that she could be just as politically savvy as her husband. David Strathairn is one of my favorite actors, so to see him get such a plum role as Seward is fantastic, and he nails every moment. Tommy Lee Jones easily has a lock for Best Supporting Actor as the hilarious, passionate Stevens, although his best scene might be his very last one ("Read it to me again, m'love"). The aforementioned Spader-Hawkes-Nelson trio is magnificent, and I love their little bluegrass theme that pops up on the soundtrack. Joseph Gordon Levitt's best scene is his reaction to the dumped pile of severed limbs and the conversation that follows. Actors with smaller but crucial roles like Bruce McGill (his reaction to Lincoln starting up another story is one of the biggest laughs in the movie), Jackie Earle Haley, David Oyelowo, S. Epatha Merkerson, Jared Harris and Michael Stuhlbarg fill out their scenes wonderfully.

 

-It is also, as always, lovely to see Hal Holbrook, although he's either put on a lot of weight since Into the Wild or is wearing a very convincing fat suit. His presence is also a sly in-joke considering Holbrook's history of playing Lincoln in other works.

 

-Kushner's script is quite excellent, although I don't know how it compares to his last Spielberg collaboration since I never saw Munich (should I? I've heard mixed things). I like how he incorporates famous quotes and speeches in a non-showy manner, for instance, and his way of showing Lincoln's character through action and words is very keenly done.

 

-Much like with Schindler's List, Spielberg's usual grandiose touches are almost completely absent. I was particularly impressed with how much tension he managed to wring out of the central conflict even though I already knew how the story ended. That, to me, is a sign that you still know what you're doing. And this is the best-looking Kaminski collaboration since, I dunno, Minority Report (didn't see War Horse yet either)? I've never bagged on Kaminski as much as some, but he's certainly had his off days. But Lincoln is quite a lovely film, even when it's ugly like in the opening, grueling battle scene.

 

-I too thought the movie could have ended when Lincoln is walking to the theater... but then we wouldn't have Sally Field's reaction to his death, and I don't know that I'd trade that for anything.

post #52 of 65

As was already noted upthread, the absence of Kaminski's rather indulgent haze/glow is especially refreshing. Hell, that ties with DDL's performance as my favorite thing about the movie. 

post #53 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schwartz View Post

Honestly, I don't know how you don't end this on Lincoln walking out to the theater.  Hell, you can put your candle-dissolve-to-inaugural-address bit there if you're dead set on it. 

 

But it's small potatoes overall.  The big potatoes being that ridiculous cast.  I want James Spader and John Hawkes to play buddy henchmen in every movie made next year, regardless of period or genre.  

I suppose its meant to show that Lincoln was working on a ticking clock. Showing him collapsed on that bed only further lionizes him (and show that he too was a sacrifice) for the total dedication to ending a horrible, horrible set of circumstances.

 

Well its not a surprise to say that I loved this movie. And not only loved, but somewhat bewildered by it. How does this movie exist?! A political  movie about political calculations, a biographry without much bio, a historical drama without much usual dramatics, an educational experience immensely captivating...it doesn't make sense. It followed the beats and pacing of a movie half a century older, one confident enough in its audience to not hold its hand while speeding along at the same time as being relaxed enough to take its time getting there. There is so much I can say about this movie.

 

I will say this. The last shot of that dissolves away from the flickering flame is the most authentic Capra shot I've seen in a long, long while.

post #54 of 65

Oh, and if anyone has any links to reviews or analysis that further illuminates this movie, I'd love to see them. There's so much there that I think I am missing.

post #55 of 65

I must've been in full-on cynic mode when I saw it, because that shot of Lincoln and the candle seemed like forced sentimentality at best, cheesy at worst.  Whereas the candle at the beginning of Schindler's List really works for me in establishing the mood.

post #56 of 65

Again like something out of a Capra movie. Anyone ever see Young Mr. Lincoln (1939)? This is basically its sequel, in both subject matter and tone.

post #57 of 65

I just saw Lincoln a couple of hours ago, and it was excellent. It made history entertaining and fun at some points. Tommy Lee Jones was my favorite part of the movie. I thought his best scene was reading that congressman the riot act in his office.

post #58 of 65
Saw it for the first time this afternoon, and was pretty disappointed over all. Too little drama, and too much of a stilted history lesson, with Lincoln himself often lost in the haze of exposition. Daniel Day Lewis is the greatest living actor, and I wanted to see more of him than this movie gave me. They should have hit the ground running, Mamet style, and just expected the audience to catch up, knowledge of history be damned.

Worthwhile, but not a film I felt any particular connection with outside it's remarkable lead performance.
post #59 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Harford View Post

Saw it for the first time this afternoon, and was pretty disappointed over all. Too little drama, and too much of a stilted history lesson, with Lincoln himself often lost in the haze of exposition. Daniel Day Lewis is the greatest living actor, and I wanted to see more of him than this movie gave me. They should have hit the ground running, Mamet style, and just expected the audience to catch up, knowledge of history be damned.
Worthwhile, but not a film I felt any particular connection with outside it's remarkable lead performance.

Amen.

post #60 of 65
Saw it yesterday afternoon. Was entertaining (and educational) at the time I was watching it, then it promptly disappeared from my memory afterwards. I guess what I took away from it was that I wanted to know a bit more about Mary Todd Lincoln, but her wiki's pretty slight. So...yeah, I guess maybe being an American (or having an interest in American congressional history) might be a pre-req for really getting into this one. And agree that the candle fade-in was ultra hokey and, frankly, irritating.
post #61 of 65
Thought this was decent but I wasn't all that blown away by this either. Some of the politics was interesting (esp. not knowing the story in much detail), the messages were worthwhile and the performances were all good, albeit a bit actorly. But as cinema it's pretty stagey and theatrical. It must be in the running for the movie with most monologues.

I think my favourite thing is how it manages to reconcile the popular legend of Lincoln as this booming baritone orator with the descriptions of him actually having a high, reedy voice. Though even in this slightly humanised version, he's still treated as a larger than life figure.
post #62 of 65
the first-billed cast includes Daniel Day-Lewis, Tommy Lee Jones, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jackie Earle Haley, and Tim Blake Nelson. That has to set a record, right?
post #63 of 65

You guys hedging on this are nuts, Lincoln is a goddamn masterpiece (slightly flawed as it is by the sloppy beginning and end). 

If this movie were just assorted snippets of DDL relating amusing anecdotes as Lincoln, it would be far and away superior to 99% of every other historical drama in cinematic history. Throw in Lincoln's hugely amusing henchmen and Thaddeus Stevens, and I'm just blown away that people could be disappointed in it.

 

-Lincoln explaining to his cabinet why he needs the 13th Amendment, the legal rationale behind his war powers

-Lincoln telling his cabinet to get the fucking votes

-Lincoln in the telegraph office 

-Lincoln and Stevens shooting the shit 

-Lincoln going door to door to get the last few votes

-Lincoln redirecting the critical missive

-the fucking VOTE "more reptile than man!"

 

None of that maintained in your memory? If so, you need some Omega-3s in your diet, cause that stuff is damn near as good as it gets.

post #64 of 65
I've seen that "Lincoln explaining to the cabinet why he needs the Amendment" scene three times, and it gets better every time. That scene alone should have won Kushner the Oscar. DDL kills the delivery, but the speech itself is a masterwork. The rest of Zhukov's list is gold as well, and the awesome character actor quotient of Lincoln if off the charts. Even with none of that, DDL's embodiment of Lincoln is a performance for the ages. Even if you don't like Lincoln the man, his role in the film he was a character for the ages. I had tremendous trepidation for the film, due to my attachment towards the subject and the dozens of ways it could go wrong (DDL not being one of them). But that it really did encompass the book and the history from such a narrow chronological window, that it showed everything that is venerated about the man, along with the burden of the decisions...it really is an incredible piece of work.
post #65 of 65
Thread Starter 
I've been meaning to chime in on this again, but was going to wait until I watched the Blu. Fate has conspired to push that back a week or two, but yeah, Zukov got my back.
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