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Lincoln - 7/1/2013 3:23:11 PM   
Empire Admin

 

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- 7/1/2013 3:23:12 PM   
kojaksmoneybox

 

Posts: 10
Joined: 22/9/2009
The trouble with Lincoln is that Daniel Day-Lewis is so mesmerising and convincing as Abe, that the minute the focus is shifted away from him, it suffers dramatically.

In a movie filled with Oscar baiting speeches of gradually swelling music and slow camera zooms, it is noticeable how this old-fashioned style of moviemaking feels somewhat, well, old-fashioned and out of place.

Come what may on Oscar night, Lincoln could sweep the board but the far edgier and frankly better option is Zero Dark Thirty to clean up for its almost anti-filmaking approach.

A dissapointment when you consider the talent involved. Day-Lewis deserves a better movie than his performance gives and to waste Gordon-Levitt in such a thankless role is criminal. Further evidence that Spielberg is waning - Munich being his last great movie.

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Post #: 2
RE: Lincoln - 10/1/2013 5:25:56 AM   
Phubbs


Posts: 658
Joined: 3/4/2012
Lincoln

If you want a job doing right get Spielberg, on the other hand if you want to make an epic right get Daniel Day-Lewis. So this pretty much has the outright winning formula and 'Oscar' stamped across its forehead before you've even sat down. A biopic, about some American guy with dubious facial hair, beats me but the Yanks seem to think he's pretty important.

The films kicks off straight away in a battle, a rain soaked battle to the death with hordes of American soldiers literately at each others throats, stumbling around in thick knee high pools of mud. Everywhere we see men being bayonetted to death or trampled into the mud, the men are mostly black, a lead to the core of the story, yeah its taboo history right here, black slavery.

Now I'll admit I was kinda thinking we would see plenty of bloody gritty civil war action in this film, or at least hints of it. The start of the film does give that impression and I was gearing up for a right royal historical blitzkrieg but alas!! the start sequence is all we get and not a drop more. Yes this film is completely and utterly dialog driven as it follows Lincoln from one meeting to another with every figure/group/party of the time.

Now this isn't a bad thing and I wasn't bored a tall amazingly, the film looks so lavish, realistic and atmospheric I found myself merely enjoying the old ambiance of late 18th Century life. Its strangely calming and very pleasant to just sit back and take in all the sights and sounds, you can almost smell certain scenes they look so vivid and luscious.

The cast is impressive, it seems everyone wanted a piece of this practically guaranteed unstoppable Spielberg Oscar machine. Yet I found myself thinking (again) that its the rest of the cast that actually outweigh Day-Lewis. Yes DDL is the man, the king of epics, but his performance here is very quiet, very slow almost sombre, with the odd little sequence where he perks up a bit. Now of course I realize this is obviously deliberate and how Lincoln must have been but for me he is almost swallowed up by his fellow actors and their performances, Tommy Lee Jones, Hal Holbrook, Jackie Earle Haley, David Strathairn, Sally Field...hell even James Spader is good here.

I do think that DDL has rightly earned his reputation in films like this, but I also feel he seems to be getting automatic hype and praise in this film from that reputation when really its all the other players that really shine. Personally I felt Mr Lewis has been matched and beaten well and truly here, the strength of the cast is too great, kudos of course for all.

There isn't really anything I can say about the film in a negative view. Yes its mostly political dialog but its accurate, real, which is good, but I can understand that many won't enjoy that. The only thing I didn't really like was the way Lincoln's death was included. That may sound odd but showing Lincoln on his deathbed with doctors at his side, from my own artistic point of view, wasn't required. That's all they show, they don't reconstruct the actual assassination but it just seems clunky, strips the film of a solid dramatic ending and kinda takes away the legendary aspect of the man by showing him at the end of his life.

Ironically the ending of the film 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter' was done in a much more thoughtful way, it doesn't show anything, just leaves it to history and what we all know. I think 'Lincoln' should have ended when we see the President walking off down a corridor in the White House, watched by his servant, leaving for the Ford's Theater. For Spielberg that's a surprising wasted chance for a nice emotional finale there.

So yes, a reasonable knowledge of American civil war/political history is required here methinks. I won't lie there is tonnes of heavy political dialog running right the way through this beast of a film and it will confuse and disorientate most folk (had me dashing for good old wikipedia on many occasions...and that was even heavier lol!).

I would also say, even though I'm no expert on this period, I'm sure certain elements have been over dramatised for the film. Always the way which I can understand of course but you can sense it clearly in many sequences. One could almost say this isn't really a film for entertainment but a lesson, a lesson that should be shown in all schools much like Spielberg's WWII epic 'Schindler's List'. Thick and slow going but rewarding no doubt.


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Post #: 3
RE: Lincoln - 10/1/2013 2:20:22 PM   
jonson


Posts: 9150
Joined: 30/9/2005
I drove through Lincoln yesterday, fuck knows how they'll make an interesting film out of it.

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Post #: 4
RE: Lincoln - 18/1/2013 11:32:02 PM   
mattdavies86

 

Posts: 113
Joined: 30/4/2006
From: Bath
There's something about Spielberg tackling historical drama that just bores me senseless, with the exception of Schindler's List. Lincoln is a clear companion piece to Amistad, not only in its dealing with the subject matter of slavery, but also in the extended periods of political maneuvering and speeches that quickly become dull and tiring.

While others may see it to be of benefit, for me the decision to focus solely on a short period in Lincoln's life was of detriment to the film. Certain events that clearly had significant bearing were referenced in passing, while others were poorly handled. In particular, as mentioned by another post above, I don't think they needed to show him on his deathbed after being shot.

Stuffed full of historical name-dropping, Day-Lewis is of course the standout and is a dead cert to take home the Oscar, but having now seen the performances of the other nominees, I consider Joaquin Phoenix's turn to be far more deserving.

As someone who enjoys Spielberg's more audience-friendly popcorn fare (and feels he has a much better handle on such), I feel he hasn't produced a great film since Catch Me If You Can and Minority Report.

Perfectly fine, but by no means the classic that many are claiming it to be.

3/5

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Post #: 5
RE: Lincoln - 20/1/2013 7:22:49 AM   
morphman

 

Posts: 4
Joined: 20/1/2013
From: British Expat - Cebu
lol...

quote:

ORIGINAL: jonson

I drove through Lincoln yesterday, fuck knows how they'll make an interesting film out of it.



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Post #: 6
Watch for Day-Lewis only - - 21/1/2013 12:55:57 AM   
bobbyperu

 

Posts: 498
Joined: 21/10/2007
Day-Lewis may be brilliant as Lincoln but as a history lesson it falls fatally short - Lincoln never hid his racist beliefs that black people were inferior to whites and that they should never be allowed to vote or hold public office - He believed whites should dominate over blacks but wanted to end slavery as they deserved some rights as humans - I accept almost everyone was racist back then and that Lincoln was seen as a progressive in his day but this film never touches upon any of this instead gives us the image of Lincoln the US wished was true -

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Post #: 7
RE: - 21/1/2013 4:04:01 AM   
spamandham

 

Posts: 521
Joined: 27/11/2008

quote:

ORIGINAL: kojaksmoneybox

The trouble with Lincoln is that Daniel Day-Lewis is so mesmerising and convincing as Abe, that the minute the focus is shifted away from him, it suffers dramatically...




I agree with you about Day-Lewis. I'm actually bored of him being so consistently good in everything. Could he possibly put in a stinker of a performance just for once, to break up the monotony?

The film itself is a fairly middle of the road historical political drama, and not particularly riveting unless you are a US history nerd.

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Post #: 8
Overrated! - 21/1/2013 8:44:10 AM   
juangaz

 

Posts: 21
Joined: 12/9/2007
This film is hugely over rated - 5 stars do me a favour! Day Lewis was good, Tommy Lee Jones was better, this film is dull - period.

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Post #: 9
RE: RE: - 21/1/2013 8:55:54 AM   
JSTEED

 

Posts: 3
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*Ignore this* lol

< Message edited by JSTEED -- 21/1/2013 9:03:15 AM >

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Post #: 10
RE: Watch for Day-Lewis only - - 21/1/2013 8:58:30 AM   
JSTEED

 

Posts: 3
Joined: 28/8/2012
Wow. Another academic so thoroughly versed in U.S history that I'm surprised they're committing time to gracing such rags as Empire with such indepth knowledge. All these history books and it was as simple as that all a long. TRY READING A BOOK BEFORE YOU CONTAMINATE OTHERS WITH YOUR IGNORANCE. You may actually learn something. (I would happily help with your mistakes but this is a film magazine and not for me to systematically correct or clarify your half-assed opinion. Tip: Start with the FACTUAL and CRITICAL ACCLAIMED book Team of Rivals for which the film is based.

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Post #: 11
no mention by empire of the European Premier of Lincoln... - 21/1/2013 9:19:00 AM   
Greagoir


Posts: 54
Joined: 24/4/2006
From: Éire
Why didn't empire give a mention regarding the european premier of Lincoln last night in the Savoy cinema in Dublin? Not worth mentioning? Considering all the stars turned up including Irish actor Danny Day-Lewis and director Speilberg. I'll do your job for you empire, no worries. Click the link below for news and pics from the european premier of Lincoln...
http://m.rte.ie/ten/2013/0121/lincoln.html

< Message edited by Greagoir -- 21/1/2013 9:24:28 AM >

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Post #: 12
Shame On Empire - 21/1/2013 1:40:46 PM   
andrewgc

 

Posts: 31
Joined: 1/4/2006
O dear. Speilberg. Day Lewis. Empire slavering at the bit. A proper bloody yawn fest to be brutal.

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Post #: 13
Typical Empire on the bandwagon!!! - 21/1/2013 3:23:07 PM   
potemkin1925

 

Posts: 147
Joined: 17/10/2007
I had hopes for this flick when Daniel Day Lewis signed on - I thought he'd be the man to give the Yanks a slap in the jaw. Seems he'd rather collect awards though, than tell the truth. Lincoln was a great man, sure, but he wasn't perfect. Tell the truth - he was against slavery because it affected white men's employment and he wanted black people shipped back to Africa because he thought whites and blacks could never get along. And give credit to the real emancipators and writers of the bill. It doesn't make Lincoln a villain, it just makes him a bit wrong. The bonkers vampire one is better.

Plus, "Day-Lewis is so authentic he pulls off that stovepipe". What does "authentic" mean? Nothing exists to tell us what Lincoln sounded, moved or behaved like.

Therefore, Daniel Day-Lewis' does not portray an "authentic Lincoln" - the performance is entirely of his own creation. So credit him with that.

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Post #: 14
RE: Typical Empire on the bandwagon!!! - 21/1/2013 5:57:31 PM   
Don_a_van


Posts: 98
Joined: 30/1/2007
I could be hugely mistaken (I have been known to be from time to time) but am I the only person who has a total lack of interest in this film? Spielberg and Day-Lewis, I should be positively foaming at the mouth to see it but no, not one iota of interest. To be fiar the suject matter holds little interest for me but I was hoping some positive reviews might change my mind, however if anything, this Empire review has made me even less keen to see it, if that were possible as it makes it sound like an absolute yawn fest. The fact that It just seems like it was a film cynically designed with the sole purpose of winning Oscars also does it no favours.

(I do of course reserve the right to deny any of this if I subsequently work up the energy to watch it and find it's actually brilliant)

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Post #: 15
RE: Typical Empire on the bandwagon!!! - 21/1/2013 6:19:44 PM   
Jar Jar Gabor


Posts: 250
Joined: 30/9/2005
quote:

ORIGINAL: Don_a_van

...The fact that It just seems like it was a film cynically designed with the sole purpose of winning Oscars also does it no favours...


Yes, Spielberg spent 12 years developing Lincoln - instigating re-write after re-write, re-think after re-think - just so he could put another trophy on his mantelpiece.

Lincoln may be an Oscar-friendly prestige picture but it's also been a real passion project for Spielberg who's shown Kubrickian levels of preparation in getting it made. Only when he felt he had the best script and the best people available to act on that script did he finally bring it to the screen. That amount of dedication and hard work should not be taken lightly or written off merely as 'Oscar baiting'.

It's clear that Spielberg has a massive interest in Abraham Lincoln and the passing of the 13th Amendment; how much of that interest you share with him will probably determine how much you're going to like the film.

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Post #: 16
hit the snooze button - 21/1/2013 6:58:40 PM   
tokin5000

 

Posts: 18
Joined: 26/5/2010
No point watching, they missed the most important part of his life. The time he got kidnapped by a time travelling phone box.

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Post #: 17
hit the snooze button - 21/1/2013 6:58:42 PM   
tokin5000

 

Posts: 18
Joined: 26/5/2010
No point watching, they missed the most important part of his life. The time he got kidnapped by a time travelling phone box.

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Post #: 18
RE: hit the snooze button - 21/1/2013 10:06:14 PM   
potemkin1925

 

Posts: 147
Joined: 17/10/2007

quote:

ORIGINAL: tokin5000

No point watching, they missed the most important part of his life. The time he got kidnapped by a time travelling phone box.


The phone box didn't kidnap him - it was the man in the box ;)

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Post #: 19
RE: Typical Empire on the bandwagon!!! - 21/1/2013 10:08:33 PM   
potemkin1925

 

Posts: 147
Joined: 17/10/2007

quote:

ORIGINAL: Jar Jar Gabor

It's clear that Spielberg has a massive interest in Abraham Lincoln and the passing of the 13th Amendment; how much of that interest you share with him will probably determine how much you're going to like the film.



Then why did Spielberg ignore important points like who actually wrote the emancipation bill.

... And the vampire slaying. :P

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Post #: 20
RE: no mention by empire of the European Premier of Lin... - 21/1/2013 10:10:28 PM   
potemkin1925

 

Posts: 147
Joined: 17/10/2007

quote:

ORIGINAL: Greagoir

Why didn't empire give a mention regarding the european premier of Lincoln last night in the Savoy cinema in Dublin? Not worth mentioning? Considering all the stars turned up including Irish actor Danny Day-Lewis and director Speilberg. I'll do your job for you empire, no worries. Click the link below for news and pics from the european premier of Lincoln...
http://m.rte.ie/ten/2013/0121/lincoln.html


Well, you didn't really expect Empire to acknowledge something like that,did you?

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Post #: 21
RE: hit the snooze button - 21/1/2013 10:47:33 PM   
Hood_Man


Posts: 12192
Joined: 30/9/2005

quote:

ORIGINAL: tokin5000

No point watching, they missed the most important part of his life. The time he got kidnapped by a time travelling phone box.


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Post #: 22
RE: Lincoln - 23/1/2013 10:48:11 AM   
frankie


Posts: 1089
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Manchester

quote:

ORIGINAL: jonson

I drove through Lincoln yesterday, fuck knows how they'll make an interesting film out of it.


Why can I not "Like" on this site yet?

How do Jonson? Long time and all that... I see you haven't lost your trademark wit.

And I'm pretty sure you haven't changed your avatar (including santa hat) since 2004.

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Post #: 23
- 25/1/2013 12:09:54 PM   
TheGodfather


Posts: 5376
Joined: 21/10/2005
From: Sin City

Lincoln
A Method actor if there ever was one playing the biggest ever president of the United States: that has to be something special.
And it is. Daniel Day-Lewis really gives his all and is President Lincoln. In everything he looks like him and is the big attraction of Steven Spielberg`s last work.
It`s pretty impossible that the Oscar doesn`t go his way.

The film focusses on the last four months of Lincoln`s life and his battle to have the 13th Amendment passed.
Although it takes place during the Civil War you`ll be dissapointed if you expect too much action and battle scenes.
Except for the opening scene, there isn`t too much to found of that.
But that it more than compensated for, thanks to a strong script with excellent dialogue in wich we also get to know the other side of the man: the family man. It is this variation in wich Day-Lewis finds a great balance and makes Lincoln more than the President behind the abolition of the slavery

Spielberg and Tony Kusher (who wrote the screenplay) do ask knowledge of the case from their audience, there isn`t a whole lot that gets explained. Not everything is explained all the way, wich is a good thing.
You`ll have to be pretty focussed and keep your attention because names and terms come flying at you left and right.
The film looks beautiful, the amount of detail is immense. Visually it`s, as could be expected, fantastic. Spielberg`s regular d.o.p Janusz Kaminski delivers a wonderful piece of work, visually it`s fingerlicking good.

It took a long, long time before Spielberg finally brought his film on Lincoln to the big scree. Now that it has finally arrived you can`t conclude anything else then it was well worth the wait.
With a brilliant Day-Lewis, this is a sublime hommage to one of the most important people in history.

9,3/10

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Post #: 24
Yawn!! - 25/1/2013 6:34:35 PM   
J_BUltimatum

 

Posts: 148
Joined: 20/1/2007
From: Edinburgh
What happened to the good old days when a movie used to be under 2hrs and actually entertaining?? I can now understand all the Awards buzz around this, because it's long, boring and just an awful film. If I had the choice again I would quite happily bypass this and go watch Arnie, in what is the most entertaining movie out this week!

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Post #: 25
RE: hit the snooze button - 25/1/2013 6:39:01 PM   
J_BUltimatum

 

Posts: 148
Joined: 20/1/2007
From: Edinburgh
quote:

Irish actor Danny Day-Lewis


Ummm He was Born in Greenwich (London)... SO just wondering where you are getting the Irish part from??

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Post #: 26
RE: Lincoln - 25/1/2013 6:49:30 PM   
demoncleaner


Posts: 2451
Joined: 3/10/2005
From: Belfast
I always said I could watch Daniel Day Lewis read the phone book, today, watching Lincoln, I came pretty close.

I really didn't like it. I thought it was a text book with a (less than fervent) pulse. Turgid breeze blocks of barely disguised prose masquerading as dialogue. It was proper epistolary in the sense that the script seemed like copy and paste excerpts from correspondence, memoir and historical ponderances, basically the painstaking written word VS what we're supposed to swallow as spontaneous dialogue. Sally Field seems the most undone by this, I'd be surprised if her every word wasn't found laid down in various letters to her husband, this approach works to some extent in the education of the audience but really, really, you're left wondering how cinema serves this story, or, if your as precious as I am about such things, how this story serves cinema. Every impression Lincoln leaves you with is that of a History channel docu-drama with money and de facto prestige thrown at it. When the music swells this otherwise noble approach really grates. I think suspicion of political rhetoric is a good thing but this is very much a celebration of rhetoric. It's far from crass, and it's intentions are good but when you see The House of Representative Cum Faces when Tommy Jee Jones makes a speech, (which turns out to be a diplomatic dodge) the viewer has to return to the inevitability that they are in the presence of a marketable product and not some window into human nature.

But apart from that Mrs. Lincoln how was the show?


Well, Daniel Day Lewis is superb. Utterly superb and he's the only outlet of pleasure to be had here. He's dealing very much with the same mound of thankless script every other actor is dealing with but his character is somewhat exempt. While other characters merely mouth questions his character is prized for the audience because he's the one who has to provide the answers. And his answers are beautifully and succinctly poignant. (His wistful dalliances with self-doubt and his ultimate resolve is none too shabby either). I don't know about the true Lincoln but Day-Lewis conveys the warmth of innate truisms spontaneously re-curring to his character time and time again. In the balance of things we have to ask is the central portrait and performance enough to salvage the film's sense of it being worthwhile. No, not for me, personally. Now, if Tony Kushner adapted the phone book.....

2/5

< Message edited by demoncleaner -- 25/1/2013 6:56:21 PM >

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Post #: 27
RE: hit the snooze button - 25/1/2013 6:53:06 PM   
demoncleaner


Posts: 2451
Joined: 3/10/2005
From: Belfast

quote:

ORIGINAL: J_BUltimatum

quote:

Irish actor Danny Day-Lewis


Ummm He was Born in Greenwich (London)... SO just wondering where you are getting the Irish part from??



He lives in Wicklow and has taken on Irish (dual?) nationality. I know it's a bit tenuous, but eff it we're claiming him!

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Post #: 28
Bone-biting weariness... - 25/1/2013 8:54:24 PM   
Wladzio

 

Posts: 2
Joined: 25/1/2013
If this is not a 5 star film, then there isn’t one this year. It is like a great symphony in its pacing and shaping and demonstrates the perfect fusion of a literate (heaven be praised) script, perfect acting and flawless design and cinematography; all under the direction of a hugely talented director who is now learning the power of restraint. Day-Lewis is simply spellbinding.

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Post #: 29
RE: Bone-biting weariness... - 25/1/2013 10:55:11 PM   
Hood_Man


Posts: 12192
Joined: 30/9/2005
It was an entertaining film, and Daniel Day Lewis made for a great Lincoln.

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Post #: 30
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