Steven Spielberg is the most successful director of all time and deservedly so. He has an uncanny ability to know what an audience wants and how to deliver it to them. And this ability can span any genre as well with Spielberg tackling everything from action to adventure to sci fi to children’s to drama to horror (I consider War of the Worlds to be horror as well as Spielberg’s involvement with Poltergeist). He also tackles subjects that he is personally interested in, like his fascination with wars and his associated projects like Saving Private Ryan, Empire of the Sun and Schindler’s List. His latest film captures another subject Spielberg is keen on, American history.
In 1865 with the Civil War dragging on, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln decides to try and pass a constitutional amendment that will ban slavery from the country. But he is faced with a difficult task for if he does not get the amendment passed before the war ends, he may not have the chance again as the remaining southern states would oppose it.
Lincoln chronicles a very specific time in the beloved presidents life as opposed to being a film about the span of his life. The number of obstacles Lincoln has to overcome to get the amendment passes is truly staggering and it is amazing that it happened at all. As per usual, Spielberg has crafted a technically near perfect film. It is filled with gorgeous cinematography, breathtaking shots and a compelling real life story that was a major turning point in U.S. history. But it is Daniel Day Lewis’ portrayal of Lincoln in tandem with Spielberg’s craft that makes Lincoln something special. Together they put together a portrait of the man, not just the president. They humanized him and carefully constructed what the real man was like, what he believed and what he dealt with to make one of the biggest decisions in presidential history. It is a beautiful film, a poignant film, and Lewis’ performance is nothing short of masterful. I don’t know if it is a film I would return to time and again, the subject matter and the detail with which it is written can be dry, but it is a film everyone should see at least once as it is a masterwork from a master director and a master actor.
The Blu-ray from Disney is exactly what the film deserves, perfection. The colors are bold, the black levels deep, the clarity and detail are astounding. And the soundtrack full of orchestral wonder is immersive and full. Just a wonderful transfer.
Available now on Blu-ray and DVD.