Lincoln, Blu-ray (2012-2013)Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, David Strathaim Director: Steven Spielberg Studio: DreamWorks /Twentieth Century Fox (3/26/13) 4-disc edition Music: John Williams Video: 2.40:1 anamorphic/enhanced for 16:9 1080p HD color Audio: English 7.1 DTS-HD MA, English DD 2.0 Languages: also French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital Subtitles: English, French and Spanish Extras: “The Journey to Lincoln”, “A Historic Tapestry”, “In the Company of Character”, “Crafting the Past”, “Living with Lincoln”, “In Lincoln’s Footsteps” Length: 150 minutes Rating: ****½
I had mixed emotions going to see Lincoln in the theaters, having not been a great fan of Steven Spielberg since Jaws and Duel and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. I found his movies usually over the top, overly sentimental, and while very well made, the emotional connection he intended wasn’t there for me.
Lincoln, however, is a triumph. Built on a superb Oscar-winning performance by Daniel Day-Lewis, the film focuses on a period of time after the Civil War as Lincoln struggled to end slavery. The film is one of those “inspired by true events” presentation, which means don’t take it as history. It’s still reasonably close, and those debates have been widely discussed.
Without Day-Lewis, the film would have faltered. He became Lincoln for this film, and Liam Neeson who was originally slated for the role, would not have been as convincing. As a film, Lincoln is state of the art technology. The photography by Janusz Kaminsky, the set design, and overall look of the film are compelling. Much of the film takes place in darkened rooms, yet black levels are well delineated, and CGI is obvious in places but not over the top.
I listened to the film in 7.1 DTS-HD MA. The audio mix is restrained. In large scenes there is a hint of natural sounds from the surrounds. In more intimate scenes there is subtle room ambience. There are a few directional effects, but they are downplayed, which I think the film requires.
Spielberg exercised commendable restraint on Lincoln, and as a result he has created an inspiring and worthwhile film. It is epic with a small ‘e’, never calling attention to itself as cinema technology, but as a cohesive whole where the technical aspects, the literate script, and the acting come together to make a film that is one of the best in years.