Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
Empire's New Tom Cruise Cover
The Jameson Empire Awards 2014
Vote: The Greatest 301 Movies Of All Time!
Rebecca Hall:
My Movie Life

The actress picks the movies that shaped her
Mountain Dew Green Screen
Register now to see X-Men: First Class!
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

BOOK DETAILS
Released
25 January 2013
Author
David Rubel, with Laurent Bouzereall
Publisher

LATEST BOOK REVIEWS
Steven Spielberg And The Duel
4 Star Empire Rating
Snowpiercer: Vol 1 & 2
4 Star Empire Rating
Art Of Dreamworks Animation, The
3 Star Empire Rating
Warp Films 10
4 Star Empire Rating
Five Came Back
4 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Making Of The Return Of The Jedi, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Terminator Vault
5 Star Empire Rating
Star Wars: The Blueprints
5 Star Empire Rating
Book of Mormon: The Testament of a Broadway Musical, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Revolution Was Televised, The
5 Star Empire Rating

Lincoln: A Cinematic and Historical Companion Rise of the Planet of the Abe


submit to reddit

Review
Were there any question about Steven Spielberg’s reverence for Abraham Lincoln, it should be put to rest by the fact that this ‘making of’ book lavishes over two-thirds of its pages on the film’s subject, his life and times. If this is hagiography, it’s not Spielberg it’s focused on — but in fact the book provides a relatively balanced view of the American President. Abraham Lincoln emerges from Steven Spielberg’s biopic as a complex, layered character: a mix of hero and clown, upright man and down-and-dirty politician, family man and man’s man. It’s an impressive distillation of the 16th President’s life, and David Rubel’s historical summary highlights just how much of the film is rooted in historical fact, and how subtly Tony Kushner’s script manages to convey a dense thicket of information. Rubel’s account is more wide-ranging, looking at how pre-Civil War tensions built between the States before sweeping through the War itself, and serves equally well as a primer for the film or a gap-filler after watching it. Photographs from the Civil War period, alongside quotations and extracts from first-hand accounts, bring the characters to life on the page. This doesn’t have the historical heft of, say, Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team Of Rivals, Spielberg’s inspiration for the film. But as a lavishly photographed companion-piece, the historical sections go much further than the usual cinema guide in setting the film within its context.
The ‘making of’ sections, by comparison, are more of a love-in. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Spielberg and his regular collaborators have nothing but praise for one another, their star or their subject, albeit eloquent and considered praise. Also unsurprising, but more disappointing, Daniel Day-Lewis doesn’t go on the record about his preparation and performance, and is more silent than Lincoln himself (Honest Abe is at least quoted). Still, there are fascinating titbits that reveal the filmmakers’ mania for authenticity: sound genius Ben Burtt tracked down Lincoln’s own mantelpiece clock to record its tick. That seriousness of purpose is reflected throughout this book, giving it the heft to match the film.


Reviewed by Helen O'Hara

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
The Best Barry Norman Anecdotes From His Empire Podcast Interview
From nearly punching Robert De Niro to the real story about ‘And why not?’

Empire 300th Issue: The Directors' Cut Cover
Spielberg, Whedon, Fincher, Abrams Mann and more take over

Fired! Losing Your Job In The Movies
The lowdown on getting dismissed on film

20 Not So Super '-Men' That Won't Star In A Film Any Time Soon
Forget your Batmen, your Spider-Men and your Ant-Men… Meet 3-D Man (and his pals)

The Making Of Locke: A Filmmaker's Journey
Steven Knight takes us through six pitstops (via Heston Services)

Tom Hardy: A Viewer's Guide
The essential, the recommended, the one for the fans... and the one to avoid

Ten Things To Know About The Spooks Movie
Under the hood of The Greater Good

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save money on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get Limited Edition Collectable X-Men Art Cards

Subscribe today and get 6 issues of Empire plus a set of collectable X-Men Art Cards for only £20!

Subscribe today

Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Just £25
Receive limited edition subscribers-only covers every month Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)