‘Lincoln’ Review: Director Steven Spielberg Mocks Audiences & Filmmaking With Biopic
Steven Spielberg has made hands down one of the years most boring films with his awards contender Lincoln. The film, which chronicles the passing of the 13th amendment to the constitution, where Lincoln and constituents freed the slaves, has about as much drama as paint drying. This is a shame, particularly considering the multitude of acting talent that is present for the film, including the sterling lead Daniel Day-Lewis. His Lincoln is unfortunately a reserved, understated gentle man whose convictions manifest themselves in one of thousands of diatribes throughout the picture.
Did I say diatribes? Yes, this film is almost entirely made up of scenes of Lincoln talking to those about the slavery issue with requisite arguing back and forth. Scenes go from the white house to the courtroom to the senate and house floor and on and on and on. No fewer than four different people were heard audibly snoring during the film for a reason. The film has a serious tone and one stamped by a continuous score that tells the audience how we should feel during each scene. A stirring speech about why there shouldn’t be slavery is given, set to the appropriate orchestral backdrop, repeat ad nauseum. Goodness.
Lincoln did an amazing thing by freeing the slaves. He did the right thing, the constitutional thing and the difficult thing, particularly given the times and opposition he faced. What the audience unfortunately faces in Spielberg’s picture is one that should have been made for the history channel, not on a large screen in a medium far underused for the purposes of this piece. Virtually no scope is to be found in Spielberg’s direction that made this worthy of being a big screen endeavor. The largeness of the ideas at play are ruined by the smallness of his film. It’s remarkable if not entirely predictable.
Spielberg has done this sort of thing before, with Amistad and Schindler’s List coming immediately to mind. The films don’t allow for the viewer to experience any feeling on their own as the themes and strings hammer home the point for you. Spielberg’s film should not be an Oscar contender in many instances (save for costume or set design and DDL’s performance) and the way he has made it, should not have been made for the silver screen. Viewers are left to shake their heads at this missed opportunity.