The Movie: 9.5/10
I’m not going to go on and on about Lincoln. It is what it is and there will be a strict divide between people who love it and people who do not. It’s a movie about a historic figure, the telling of a piece of their story and place in our past. There are thousands of “biopic’s” out there to experience and learn the false Hollywood version of what did or did not happen. Lincoln is no different, so don’t get all tingly thinking that you are about to be a fly on the wall for Abraham Lincoln’s presidency. You will not. I will assure you of this, I LOVE this movie. So, if you think I”m being critical, that is incorrect.
My critical thinking about the clash of modern movies and real life history has to be a factor in my experience with these films. Steven Spielberg and Daniel Day Lewis take us on the trip to the past with style and class and power. That is undeniable. I learned more about some of the construction of the early Democracy of our country through the research of the folks who wrote the book, wrote the script, directed the movie, made the sets, made the clothes, created the music, and performed the roles that brought it all to life. I was not there to see it for myself, so I have to trust their faithfulness to some details, and open my eyes to the reality of the dramatic artistic embellishments I do and I am.
The beauty of Lincoln is its directness and of course, Daniel Day-Lewis. The entire cast is amazing, yes, it’s just that at the center of it is Lewis and his committed determined performance of a man who lived and was part of changing history. He’s the focus, the title card, the heart of a foundering government in a country that was only 100 years old at that time. That being the challenge of someone playing the part of a person who lived and who the whole world has heard of, it’s a big friggin’ deal.
I have heard at least one person, and I’m very sure there are a lot more, who said this was the most boring movie they have ever seen. What can I say to that doesn’t sound like I am being snotty? Nothing really. If you think it’s boring there is something about your perception of this world that is seriously lacking. How can it be boring to see, even a dramatic interpretation, of a slice of time when we couldn’t be there to understand it fully? The sets and costumes are just exactly right, not that I noticed because I was instantly convinced and didn’t need to look much closer. I have been around museums and old houses and antiques and really really old photos my whole life, so I was transported right away without ever looking back at the 21st century.
Keeping the balance in my brain between the facts with the movie version wasn’t a problem. Sometimes that interferes with watching these types of movies (cough cough Titanic, or maybe Pearl Harbor). I already trust Steven Spielberg and I also trust Lewis after seeing enough of his performances over the years. I got lost in the movie, line by line, scene by scene, the quiet times the loud times, all of it. I was actually quite inspired to learn more about how our democracy, not the superficial stuff we have all been taught, but down deep at the ugly parts that we get a glimpse of in this movie.
This film fills me up with curiosity and satisfaction that I have, at some level, witnessed the tiniest hint of that moment in time. It was not boring, definitively. It’s not the TRUTH as it happened at the time. It is what it is, the telling of the story by a lot of people who appeared to give it great care and attention. That care and attention made it one of my favorite “biopics” ever. I will watch it again. I will look into more details about our young country. I will be watching with great anticipation for Daniel Day-Lewis’s next movie.
- The Journey To Lincoln – A 9 minute feature with Spielberg & Kennedy discussing what it took to get the project off the ground.
- A Historic Tapestry: Richmond Virginia – A very short (4 minute) featurette which discusses the reason for filming the movie in Virginia.
- In The Company Of Character – A 10 minute featurette with all the lead members of the cast telling how they got into character It’s a much talked about point that Say Lewis is very METHOD and here you get to learn just how much he gives to a role.
- Crafting The Past – A look at Rick Carter’s production design and the fantastic costuming from Johanna Johnston. The set dressing is so detailed even the cast learned about the time while they were waiting for shots to be setup.
- Living With Lincoln – Now this is the meat and potatoes of the special features disc and unfortunately it only runs 27 minutes. What you have here is a featurette hosted by Spielberg which tells many stories of the films production. Learn how Daniel Day Lewis actually made Spielberg cry on his final day of filming.
- In Lincoln’s Footsteps – This 17 minute featurette is basically the dumping ground for everything that did not fit in the ones previously mentioned. A large portion is dedicated to John Williams who talks you through how the score was composed.
- DVD & Digital Copy
Cover Art and Menus: 10/10
Exactly. This what a cover image should be. It represents the movie, the story, and that’s what it’s supposed to be doing. I would have this as a poster, maybe. The menu is just navigation, so that’s that.
Audio & Video: 9/10
Director Of Photography Janusz Kaminski really brings the early days of America to life with a superb natural lit movie that never appears murky. The Blu-Ray is encoded using the AVC 1080P codec and looks impeccable, this is a not a film shot on digital and film grain is intact throughout. This is not a colorful movie but makes up for that with its amazing shadow detail and crystal clear focus. Lincoln really brings the grimy days of old to life in a way only Spielberg knows how.
The DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio track is reference level, this is mostly a talky movie (a lot of talking actually) and the speech is always legible. Pans and surround effects are very subtle and not something you will actually notice. The opening action scene does sound incredible but it is so brief you may miss it. John Williams score comes across well and very cleverly is dipped under the dialog to avoid muddy confusing talk. Overall Lincoln is a special movie with an impeccable presentation kudos to Disney for all the attention to detail given to this release.
The four disc version is too expensive at this point ($30) but the two disc is available online for $17.You can also Rent it online, enjoy it, experience it and maybe learn something along the way.
Overall Score 9.5/10