Day-Lewis thrills as Lincoln; Film less than fantastic

 Day-Lewis thrills as Lincoln; Film less than fantastic

Cameron Kritikos, Sports Editor

I want to start off by saying that, when I entered the movie theatre to see Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, I had a foot-wide grin on my face, eager to devour the 2 hour, 30 minute historical drama about perhaps our greatest president. I was looking forward to this all week and was extremely excited as the early reviews were nothing but positive. As I watched, I found myself waiting for something miraculous to occur; something that would tie a bow on top and leave me happy with the fact that I spent $10.50 for admission.

I’m still waiting.

Lincoln, starring Daniel Day Lewis as the 16th President and Sally Field as Mary Todd, takes a look at the final four months of Lincoln’s life as he worked diligently with the House of Representatives to pass the 13th Amendment which would free the slaves. Spending a majority of the film in January of 1865, Spielberg focused on the complex relationships Lincoln had not only with his cabinet, but also with his wife and son Robert (Joseph Gordon Levitt). Secretary of State William Seward (David Straithairn) is presented as Lincoln’s right hand man. Seward, along with other cabinet members, works many sleepless nights to get the votes necessary to pass this amendment.

Academy Award winning actor Tommy Lee Jones took up the role of Thaddeus Stevens, a fiery Republican congressional member from Pennsylvania. This role as a supporting actor did not faze Jones one bit; in fact, this may have been one of his best performances. His sleek, sometimes nasty, voice is perfect for the role of Stevens, especially when he is spitting insults towards his Democratic counterparts in Congress. Stevens’ strong support of the 13th Amendment is well known throughout Congress, especially by those who oppose this bill. With Jones’ history as actor who can wear many masks and fill many roles, this decision was a no brainer. He may see some consideration for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

The most impressive performance, though it comes as no surprise, was Lewis’ role as Lincoln, the tall, lanky figure with a hoarse voice and the charisma to command thousands. From beginning to end, Lewis was nothing short of brilliant. His performance in Lincoln, so far, is the best of the year, and with only a month left in the calendar year, I don’t see that changing. If Lewis does not win the Academy Award for Best Actor, it would be nothing short of a travesty.

So, why was I disappointed?

My gripe with this movie is that, when Lincoln wasn’t marveling his cabinet with incredible stories, or when Stevens wasn’t sacrificing his standing in Congress, the movie got a bit dry and it seemed as if it was just slowly moving along until finally they passed the amendment. There wasn’t really a scene where I sat there and said, “Wow, now that’s incredible.” To call a movie great, I expect at least a few scenes that leave you wanting more, scenes that thrill even the most casual of fans. I personally didn’t really see any in Lincoln. It is still a solid movie, and I would recommend it to everyone to see in the theatres themselves, but in my opinion, it is not the great movie it was cracked up to be.

Spoiler alert, Lincoln dies.