It’s a credit to the reputation of director Steven Spielberg and actor Daniel Daniel-Day that something as ferociously and unforgivably political as Lincoln could achieve so much success at the box office and major awards. To really understand its subtleties would require at least an intermediate course in the American Constitution and Civil War, knowledge which is taken for granted but the jist always remains clear. At two and a half hours, it’s hard work and largely devoid of Spielberg’s trademark touch of sentimentality but instead it’s clinically executed and a dramatic account of the fourteenth amendment’s passing.
Daniel Day-Lewis is splendid and utterly convincing as the president although I’m still not convinced either he nor the film itself should be sweeping up all the major awards (that honour should be reserved for the revelatory Joaquin Phoenix and The Master). Lincoln is a grainy and dirty account of horse-trading and political maneuvering, adding another layer to Spielberg’s fine repertoire.
Review by David Rank
Lincoln is out now in the UK. Certificate 12A (UK). Running time 150 mins.
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