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  • theaptPORTFOLIO

    theaptSHOWS

    November 26, 2012

    there’s something you learn early on in spielberg, kuchner and day-lewis’ lincoln, which is that whichever of those three gave the camera operator his orders wanted nothing to do with its central character unless it was in profile or silouhette. mr. spielberg, the man seemingly given most of the talking points at catered television interviews, can keep telling us that he did not wish for this lincoln person to be deified but rather brought down to earth for a procedural story that would have us understand the man and let go of the legend but if so, why almost exclusively film him in profile or silouhette, sometimes even bathed in sun flares and linen drapes? i don’t know but somebody’s lying…

    incredibly, and to syd field‘s great surprise i’m sure, the tale that unfolds, and a true one at that, relates to us a hinge moment in history, taking such incredible delight in reveling in the mechanics of the door opener that we, the paying public, cannot consider anything other than fascinating, a peek into the halls of power, a peep though the door of american politics. the story indeed is a good, perhaps even a great one. so how come the movie is such a letdown? how can the man who thrilled us so with aliens, progroms and grails bore us so with amendment legisla… oh, riiiight. that’s it, isn’t it? as good as this movie should have been for dialogue hounds, sorkin-groupies or political history buffs, i don’t think this was spielberg’s movie to make. it might have been a gem in the hands of a director for whom long spoken scenes are exciting action sequences, not someone who lets their writers “take care of it” in order to mind the actors and lenses. a mamet, a brannagh, perhaps even a couple of coens might have handled this material with glee and not merely as an opportunity to do “important” work. because that’s how it felt. much like amistad or war horse before it, the beard seems intent on filling his résumé with films that his grownup children will be proud to one day take on school tours once he is too old to travel but that display so little of the exhuberance and care he fashioned quite a successful career from. and i do not say that simply because i miss the child-like wonder of e.t. or sense of adventure of raiders, i actually see the same wonder and adventure in the color purple and schindler’s list. yet, none to be found in this latest festival of yawns.

    i will grant that tommy lee jones scene a pass, it made me weep as it will you, but a great moment, and evidently not even a great story, does a great movie make. and i am truly sorry about that because i really wanted to love it, to admire it, to tell others about it. but i can’t. i vote nay on lincoln.