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miércoles, abril 17, 2024

Lincoln ****

Lincoln ****

Lincoln. One of the best and hardest work of Steven Spielberg. Brilliant cast.

The first thing I want to clarify to readers that this film is not the life of Abraham Lincoln. The second is that the issue is not the Civil War between the Union and the Confederacy, despite starting with a moment of particularly brutal battle. Lincoln is not a war movie but a political film. It is far from the classic John Huston’s Red Badge of Courage (1951) and Days of Glory (Edward Zwick, 1989). Do not expect to see a version of Saving Private Ryan in the American Civil War, mainly because that conflict is not pleasant in the memory manager and epic as any fratricidal confrontation is tinged with tragedy. Still containing epic by both parties, it lacks the tone of «necessary war» which itself has been given to the Second World War. That instinctive revulsion director by the dye fratricidal civil war is washed by Spielberg said conflict giving a leading role in the fight against slavery, which ultimately is the actual epicenter of a biographical sketch of Lincoln last year. That’s what makes the movie instead of graduating Lincoln might well have been titled The 13th Amendment, which is what the president’s title to the film tries to pass by all means before the end of the war, and even doing effort to prolong it, in order to use the conflict as leverage against the Democrats and conservative Republicans opposed to voting on the amendment granting equal protection to black people which wants to become the United States of America.
In that story, eminently political, we find one of the best works of Steven Spielberg direction in which his brilliance as a visual planner acquires a consistency with the objective set arguably quite remarkable.

The problem is that too many elements to fight against to claim that Lincoln is one of the highest grossing films, but for this writer is certainly one of his best movies, exercise impeccable and dare I say mature implacable as director .

The director of Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, ET, Raiders of the Lost Ark … takes time walking towards that maturity, which I believe started with The Color Purple and Empire of the Sun, went to Schindler’s List and embroidered in one of his best films, Munich. In this second group of creations, less commercial and far from exercises mythomania movie fan who comes on titles such as Always (winking at Frank Capra film), Hook (winking at Disney), Amistad (winking at Robert Mulligan, To Kill a Mockingbird in a cocktail supplemented with some of the film’s visual epic time of his admired David Lean), A. I. Artificial intelligence (winking Kubrick), The Terminal (Capra again), or War Horse (meaning bright tribute to the cinema «Irish» John Ford and more specifically to The Quiet Man, with plans we remembered the outcome She Wore a Yellow Ribbon and got a different view of the cavalry). So do not look at Lincoln Private Ryan or wait tripped Indiana Jones or a dinosaur. The warning may seem very obvious, but I consider it necessary because I think it is at the epicenter of the clash with the followers of the «brand» that they risk Spielberg at the box office address some of these later works, the best that have come the talent of this director. What happens is that Spielberg is not everything, neither can nor should be Indiana Jones on the hunt for a new treasure, a shark murderer, a trio of raptors sharpening teeth or giving Tom Cruise walks in the future in science fiction. Spielberg, who is an icon in the box office and more commercial escapist cinema, does not hesitate to dive into pools and movie plot riskier projects less easy for the public as Lincoln. But should pay attention, because the talent that has characterized as a visual storyteller, and I have never discussed, although its Capra-Disney side bothers me a lot, sometimes significantly shines in their projects less obvious and predictable.

In Lincoln Spielberg faced such expectations may lead some viewers to expect a broader biography and centered character played brilliantly by President Daniel Day Lewis, but not the case. Others expect a fresh civil war epic, which is not present in the film. His tone reminded me more of All the President’s Men (Alan J. Pakula, 1976) with some intrigue of Seven Days in May (John Frankenheimer, 1964) and a point of The Last Hurrah (John Ford, 1958) and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (Frank Capra, 1939) that does not bother me as much as other rides by director universes «caprianos».

Clearly therefore Lincoln, even as a political film, not follow the fast pace of that sort of bible of the genre that is the series The West Wing, or nests Spielberg also the most critical aspect of the empire forensic American usually demonstrates that political cinema of Oliver Stone.

Lincoln also has the added difficulty that Steven Spielberg comes a triple somersault exercise, trying to address in the same movie on one side and possibly the totemic figure of Abraham Lincoln incomprehensible by the subject that really interests you and is the epicenter of his film, the 13th Amendment to the Constitution on equality of blacks, and finally the cool end of the epic American Civil War. There are three fronts where you have to fight at the same time and it comes off better in some areas than in others. For example the attempt to show a human side to the iconic Lincoln includes some interesting scenes among which that character of the eldest son of President played by Joseph Gordon Levitt, with some footage that leaves a mark on the film through the sequence of pit members and confrontation with the father who becomes a repeat of the sequence of the girl in the red coat in Schindler’s List. The same applies to the fragment of Lincoln arguing with his wife, Sally Field, son enlisting in the army, at the reception, in the theater or the drive where she reflects on how history will see. I think those moments, however brief and episodic side in the main plot, work quite well as light touches of the intimate life of Lincoln, but the film fails on that front in the most obvious and topical relationship with his youngest son Tad.

It referred to the third front, the period epic, abounds more indoors than outdoors, and has a tendency to historic postcard like plane shows that Lincoln met with his cabinet showing in the foreground and the face profile statue the president and his advisers behind him perspective.

The best part of the film is found in its political front, where there is intrigue, include conspiracy to get votes, there is the dilemma of prolonging the war to gain the support needed to pass the amendment, and a character emerges and an actor capable of challenging the role of Lincoln himself Daniel Day Lewis: Congressman Thaddeus Stevens played by Tommy Lee Jones. From this character, Spielberg makes us think that it could have simplified the proposal regardless of the portrait of President Lincoln and leaving in the background to focus only on the Amendment number 13 and tell the story from the point of view of Stevens, who further grants in the most intensely dramatic story when the match against the «Madam President» at the reception, where you have to give in Congress to their true objectives of full equality for blacks and outcome with that great explanation Character from the intimate and the everyday through the bed scene is a perfect example of the simplicity and superiority of the visual over the textual complexity and cinematic storytelling.

It is in the political side of the story where it multiplies the appearance of small beads of interpretation in the hands of actors making cameo but almost necessary to bring that familiarity pave the spectator’s identification with the wide range of characters involved in this stage of history , people like James Spader David Strathairn, Robert Latham, Jared Harris, Walton Goggins, Hal Holbrook, Jackie Earle Haley, Michael Stuhlbarg …

In conclusion: a good job of Spielberg from maturity in a difficult film that comes to worshiping with less passion Lincoln pulpit from which I feared.>

Miguel Juan Payán


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