Lincoln

A distinctively American, and totally Spielbergianly indulgent, historical drama that may not play as well to the international audience despite a tour de force, immensely astounding and amazingly immersive performance by Daniel Day-Lewis. He is going home with the Oscars no doubt about it. I can see why Spielberg may not be winning the awards as this is surely not his strongest film. But why Affleck is beyond me, when Bigelow and Haneke are way more deserving! Spielberg's signatures are over this film with glares, flares, backlights and shadows play. He composes images beautifully and these are lensed gorgeously by by Janusz KamiƄski, in particular one very memorable moment with Lincoln's eldests son. Kaminski and Deakins ("Skyfall", any my first choice) are the top contenders for Best Cinematography.  There is a steady hand directing throughout but the pacing is inconsistent and the narrative occasionally falters. Kushner may be blamed for the latter as his script although sprinkled with moments of wit and dry humour, is also peppered with clunky exposition that unless uttered by Day-Lewis is rather aversive. However, the lines spoken by Lincoln were lyrically beautiful and impactful. Tommy Lee Jones and his curmudgeonly old man is the second best thing of this movie. He gets the best one liners and delivers most of the chuckles in this otherwise serious film. A strong contender for Best Supporting Actor (and in my opinion, Philip Seymour Hoffman is really more of a Lead Actor than a Supporting Actor for "The Master", but may be Jones' strongest rival). Sally Field gives a solid performance as Mary Lincoln although she does look decidedly older than Day-Lewis' Lincoln. Her one scene opposite him as she goes through a gamut of emotions is as strong as Anne Hathaway's "I Dream a Dream" but perhaps less showy, so she may be in the running but is a distant second for Best Supporting Actress. The other supporting casts were less memorable but at least not distracting. Both Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Lee Pace were barely recognisable. John William's score was boring and insipid, and sincerely, his nomination (and Newman's for "Skyfall") is a bit of a head scratcher compared to Desplat's other two non-nominated works for "Zero Dark Thirty" and "The Guardians". The epilogue was too long and could have ended 10 minutes earlier if the final scene was tagged on right after the surrender. There was no need to show *Spoiler Alert* Lincoln's death *End Spoiler* ... don't we all know it? That is a classic example of Spielberg being overly heavy-handed and indulgent. The Best Director race may actually be very interesting this year!

*note: kept having flashbacks to "House of Cards" throughout! Who's the whip I wonder :)

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