- Released Internationally on 16/11/12
- Released in Malta by KRS on 30/01/13
I have yet to watch a Steven Spielberg film I didn’t enjoy, and which didn’t showcase his huge talent and knack for storytelling. And I have yet to see a Daniel Day Lewis performance that was not completely convincing. Few actors have gained as much respect as he has recently, especially after his seminal There Will Be Blood. So when Spielberg has a long-standing desire to make a film about Abraham Lincoln, and Day Lewis looks uncannily like the famous US President, the board is set for a piece of classic Americana storytelling. Any US president would probably be worth making a film about, but if you abolish slavery and end up assassinated, that film might just be all the more important and poignant.
This film might not provide you with many edge-of-your-seat moments, and its main plot point - the abolition of slavery in the US - is an outcome that all viewers will (hopefully) already know was successful. But it still manages to portray the time and the process with the gravitas that such a historic moment deserves, and much of that gravitas is carried and dished out by Daniel Day Lewis' Abraham Lincoln.
It's a restrained but stunning piece of acting, and in ways far more impressive than the over-the-top performances he excelled at, such as Bill the Butcher in Gangs of New York. There's a wonderful mix of the serious side and the playful side, as well as both his political facade and his struggles as a husband and father. During the family scenes, he jousts with another veteran - Sally Field as his pained wife. The rest of the cast are far too numerous and wonderful to mention individually, although Tommy Lee Jones does stand out, and his wizened character is given probably the best ending in the whole film.
Spielberg evidently has great respect for the subject matter here, and he delivers this wonderful historical chapter without much gloss, but with loads of class. Some might argue that this is more a film that needed to be made rather than one that was released for entertainment purposes, but I for one enjoyed it from beginning to end, and every aspect of what you see and hear on screen is top notch work from quality artists.