We all know the work of Steven Spielberg. Jaws, “We’re going to need a bigger boat.” The Color Purple, “You sure is ugly!” And all the Indiana Jones movies, “Snakes? I hate snakes!” They are flamboyant, vividly driven stories that take the audience on a journey to sometimes familiar and most often unknown places. Spielberg relies on fancy linkage between scenes, and very true to life reenactments, particularly when it comes to battle scenes.
The battle scenes are present in Lincoln, but this time I think Spielberg reins it in – and it works. With a lovely script written by the enormously talented Tony Kushner (a Pulitzer Prize winning playwright for Angels in America), the film feels like a play and it is really refreshing for Spielberg to rely on the written words and the talents of the fabulous actors he has on board instead of his fancy camera work.
Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln is spectacular – an Oscar nomination is definitely in his future. Sally Field plays the long suffering Mary Todd Lincoln and has a great moment where she gives Tommy Lee Jones (playing the abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens) a piece of her (sane at the moment) mind.
It all works and in this trying time of the U.S. government, it is very timely to take a look back at history and see what men in power were once capable of accomplishing.