I love how Steven Spielberg continues to skirt expectations from his core fanbase by providing them with films that are mature and often times thought provoking. Where in “Lincoln” could have been another hollow biography about one of the greatest presidents of the United States, he transforms it in to an intellectual exercise and exploration in to the most important event in American history. “Lincoln” is a beat by beat relaying of the events before and during the passing of the Emancipation Proclamation and how the passing would come to affect everyone within the inner circle of Abraham Lincoln. “Lincoln” is mostly a look in to the seething fear of the American status quo whom spent most of their time worrying how freeing the slaves would affect their own luxuries and lot in life. The irony of the conflict is that most of the men featured were against the bill passed because they worried the African Americans would soon become an equal voice in America thus turning the white man in to a minority.
The very notion that most of these men were guided by their need to retain their luxuries and comfort in expense of the personal freedoms of the slaves is noted and often regarded as atrocious and ignorant/ Lincoln was prophetic in his thinking that freeing the slaves would not only be good for mankind but good for the economy. Though he couldn’t see through to the struggle for civil rights, his decision was politically and socially brilliant, as well as a testament to the rising notion that every man was in fact free. We lived under the delusion of freedom for a long time only to have the white man live free while the slaves toiled away, and Lincoln sought out to prove to the world that under his rule, freedom meant absolute equality for everyone, regardless of skin color.
Actor Daniel Day Lewis completely disappears in to the role of Abraham Lincoln. Day Lewis is a marvel, shedding his quirks and accent in favor of the more regal and lanky president who ruled over his men with a charisma that was tough to match. Most of Lincoln’s time on-screen is spent overseeing the construction of the bill while arguing circles around his opponents with charismatic debating and brilliant jokes that won over even his most ardent protestors. Lewis plays Lincoln in a very downbeat sense of grandeur that makes him a hero who used his wits to help his fellow man at the end of the day.
Director Spielberg films the debating and political hearings with great zeal, allowing a compelling sense of urgency seep through, letting the audience follow the steps to freedom every inch of the way. Spielberg is able to add a dynamic to the debates and to the concerns of both parties with a great sense of dramatic style that make every character’s worries and anger feel dire and riveting. Steven Spielberg’s drama is a film for folks who love intellectual discourse and want a film that perceives a historical event with as much realism as possible. “Lincoln” is a very unique look at a very immense president. Completely beyond what I expected from Spielberg, rife with rich performances, and excellent direction, “Lincoln” is a powerful and brilliant look at the most important moment in US history and how one man used it to form a new world for future generations.