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The 2012 movie Lincoln, which was co-written and directed by Steven Spielberg, is a respectable product of their collaboration. The Battle of Jenkins Ferry from 1864 is shown in the movie's beginning. The movie takes place in early 1865, at the height of the American Civil War. A brilliant performance subtly supports the historical lesson at the movie's center. The movie follows the turbulent final months of Abraham Lincoln's tenure as president of the United States. Lincoln follows a strategy designed to put an end to the brutal Civil War. In a nation divided by strong winds of change and war, Abraham Lincoln (as Daniel Day-Lewis) is keen on abolishing slavery and uniting the country. To abolish slavery, Daniel Day-Lewis leads the way in passing the 13th Amendment to the United States’ Constitution. The way Daniel Day-Lewis portrays Abraham Lincoln’s personality is an interesting aspect of the movie.
The film depicts the political machinations for most of the film’s running time. During some scenes, the historical worthiness does relent. For instance, that scene when William N Bilbo (James Spader) leads a group of other Republican Party operatives in delivering welcome levity. In the brief moment of the start of the film, Lincoln faces a crucial decision to make. He is torn between ending the most divisive and bloody war in modern history by compromising peace and making a final persuasion attempt of the House of Representatives to revoke an earlier decision and enact the Thirteenth Amendment to the US Constitution. His game is a deadly one juggling a variety of balls. At the same time, he has to hold his cabinet together. Beyond this, he is faced with a task of reassuring his generals that the war will be prosecuted with full intensity.
Another strand of the film exists within itself that brings both idealism and fun in the light of Washington lobbyists. These three political fixers include John Hawkes, James Spader, and Tim Blake Nelson that colorfully play this role. Being cynical idealists, they get people to change their minds through coercion, bribery, and blackmail. Lincoln finds himself at the center of this bustling social panorama. He uses folksy memories and endless anecdotes to explain himself and make his ideas persuasive. Daniel Day-Lewis produces a towering performance encompassing the greatest statesman that shaped history. He proves to be the man of the people that is a charismatic and a mysterious figure.
Steven Spielberg is one of the most important, successful and popular filmmakers of the last four decades. As such, he has successfully managed to gain his audiences’ submission to his masterful emotional manipulation. After Lincoln’s assassination, the film ends as he walks away from the camera after his amendment had gone through. Despite the undeniable cinematic art and noblest of intentions, Lincoln (2012) is not a significant inclusion in Steven Spielberg’s filmography. However, there is an attention to detail that makes the characters of this film come to life. The same attention to detail is applied to the costumes, lighting, makeup and cinematography each of which leads to technical perfection. The end of the movie is particularly intriguing in the down to the wire vote for the amendment to pass- it actually does.
Lincoln (2012). Dir. Steven Spielberg. Per. Daniel Day-Lewis, Dane DeHaan, Tommy Lee
Jones, David Strathairn, Sally Field, Bruce McGill, Hal Holbrook, Joseph Gordon-Levitt Lee Pace, Tim Blake Nelson, Walton Goggins, John Hawkes, Jackie Earle Haley, James Spader. Amblin Entertainment, 2006. DVD.
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