Thursday, November 29, 2012
I wanted to love LINCOLN. I was certainly told to love LINCOLN. But I didn’t. I’m sorry, Steven. It was okay. Certain things I liked very much (more on that later). But on the whole, the message it conveyed (to me at least) was…
This movie is IMPORTANT. That’s a lot different from “this movie is totally engrossing and resonates so much that it happens to stay with you.”
LINCOLN is very manipulative. You start with the most sympathetic character in American history, center on a feel-good social story, add the usual John Williams soaring score, cast big name actors, compose each shot beautifully and artistically so that every frame looks like a painting, hire a Tony Award winning writer, show the obligatory carnage, and of course – have the cutest little boy you’ve ever seen play Lincoln’s son and establish a warm fuzzy father-son relationship that would bring a tear to a glass eye. Without spoiling the moment, there’s a key shot near the end where I wanted to yell, “Jesus, Steven, why not just splice in 5,000 frames from ET?”
The movie opens with black soldiers reciting back the Gettysburg Address to Lincoln. One of those Hollywood moments designed to make you sigh “Awwww,” or in my case: “I'm being played!”
I attended a screening of the movie and was handed a handsome program that featured credits of the filmmakers (i.e. all their awards and nominations – nowhere did it mention Spielberg directed THE TERMINAL, CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, HOOK, or 1941), stunning photos, a history lesson, and pictures of the 35 actors in the movie. IM-POR-TANT.
The screenplay by playwright supreme, Tony Kushner was lyrical and verbose and there were some great lines along the way. But it was showy – in that way that you’re supposed to take notice and vote for it. IM-POR-TANT.
The film runs about two-and-a-half hours. IM-POR-TANT. They could easily cut a half hour.
Without a doubt LINCOLN will be nominated for a ton of Oscars. And it even might win the big ones. Let’s see how LES MISERABLES is along with a few other late contenders. And LINCOLN wouldn’t be the worst picture to win Best Picture. But just because a film is crowned Best Picture doesn’t necessarily make it a Great Picture. And if told his movie could be deemed one or the other, which do you think Steven Spielberg would pick?
By Ken Levine at 6:00 AM