Quiet intensity as Lewis leads starry cast in Spielberg epic
WHO STARS IN IT?
Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, Gordon Joseph-Levitt, David Strathairn, Lee Pace, Michael Stuhlbarg, James Spader, Hal Holbrook
WHO DIRECTS IT?
Steven Spielberg (ET, Jurassic Park, War Horse).
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WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT?
Steven Spielberg artfully tears a page from history to immortalise the efforts of the 16th president of the United States to abolish slavery.
Lincoln is a stark reminder of the sins of the past and how far we still have to go to create a world of true equality.
Tony Kushner's eloquent script portrays the final months of the president's life – a husband and father whose courage in the eye of a political storm tested his resolve and his marriage.
The ebb and flow of dialogue is exquisite and potentially dense and baffling philosophies are digestible.
WHAT IS THE PLOT?
A powerful prologue on blood-stained battlefields segues neatly to January 1865.
Two months have passed since Lincoln's re-election, the American Civil War rages on and the president's thoughts turn to the highly contentious slavery bill.
Secretary Of State William H Seward (David Strathairn) counsels against the motion.
However, Lincoln is adamant that the bill must be passed before the end of the war and he enlists William N Bilbo (James Spader) and Colonel Robert Latham (John Hawkes) to procure votes.
Meanwhile, Lincoln contends with the mood swings of his emotionally fragile wife (Sally Field), who is so often his rock.
IS IT ANY GOOD?
A terrific ensemble cast is led magnificently by Daniel Day-Lewis.
So often berated for grand-standing, here the London-born actor is the model of restraint, internalising his statesman's maelstrom of emotions. His performance is no less affecting, our eyes are constantly drawn to him because of that quiet intensity in a sea of brow-beaters.
Lincoln is a magnificent technical achievement, distinguished by Janusz Kaminski's beautifully framed, colour-bleached, cinematography, John Williams's haunting score and Joanna Johnston's costumes, which evoke the era so vividly.
RUNNING TIME: 150 min
Showing at: Quad, Cinema de Lux, Odeon, Showcase in Derby. Scala in Ilkeston and Cineworld in Burton.