I have just finished watching Lincoln for the first time on a newly purchased DVD. My opinionated review follows:
HISTORICAL WORTH OF THE FILM - B+ The film dealt with the battle fought to attain passage of the Thirteen Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. I have not completely researched every aspect of the historical content as some have done but in general the matter was treated within the general notions of Nineteenth Century United States. This episode in the Lincoln saga is only one small aspect of his historical impact but it was done well and treated appropriately within the time constraints of the movie.
QUALITY OF ACTING - C+ Daniel Day Lewis is not a favorite of mine. I have seen him in several performances on the screen and none have impressed me. His portrayal of a conflicted genius such as Abraham Lincoln was flat and stale. The dialogue used seemed to be an endless series of closely cropped speeches given with no particular dramatic impact. Of recent portrayals of Lincoln the best which comes to mind is that of Sam Waterston's in Gore Vidal's Lincoln done for television years ago. Tommy Lee Jones role as Thaddeus Stevens was much more impressive than Lewis' Lincoln.
CINEMATOGRAPHY - C- The mostly dark and dank scenes depicted throughout the movie were boring, lifeless, non-dramatic and inaccurate. I get it. In a four year span over 600,000 Americans died of battle wounds and disease. It was indeed a bleak time in our nation's history. Reality dictates that these events happen on overcast, cold, wet and bleak days as well as those that were sunny, fair and bright. I remember a day in which over 3,000 people were murdered in three states and that September 11 was a crisp, clear sunny day with azure blue skies with wispy clouds.
OVERALL SUMMARY- C+ To its credit the film accurately portrayed a time in our history where a controversial topic of the day was fated. No movie is ever 100 percent historically accurate but good enough for general education of a public that does not read books but drowns itself in an electronic cloud of social websites and inane television programs. There is room for at least 20 more movies of this quality, to begin to attempt to explain Lincoln and the American Civil War. My advice for you all, if you have not yet done so, is to read Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin. Quite honestly, I'll be hard pressed to view Spielberg's Lincoln a second time.