So I saw 'Lincoln' last night....(Spoilers)
I should preface this post by stating that in today's world of modern artificial cinema it's an increasingly rare occurance these days for a film to manage to even grasp my attention briefly. It's an even scarce event when one comes along that manages to make me get off of my ass, drive to a theater, stand in line with a bunch of maladjusted misfits, take it up the ass for $12 for a ticket, and sit in a screening room that's both cold enough for 'Rocky Balboa' to pound some cattle and sticky enough to make Briana Banks blush : But such was the case last evening when I got off my ass to go down to the local theater and give 'Lincoln' a go.
I should also probably state that given the fact that this was a Speilberg piece starring Daniel Day-Lewis in the title role I had pretty high expectations upon taking my seat in the audience. I was sincerely hoping that, despite my cynical nature, what I was about to be shown would not only be a film that was artistically merited, but something that would be historically accurate, as well.
Needless to say I walked out of the theater disappointed.
Where to start?
First off, Daniel Day-Lewis was f*cking brilliant as per usual. I wouldn't mind him getting a nomination for 'Best Actor' for his portrayl of Lincoln, which he's almost sure to get, but I wouldn't want to see him win the award simply because the film as a whole is nothing more than an exercise in historical revisionism and cinematic deification.
Which is the (unfortunate) trend in media and art these days, and what my creeping cynicism was expecting going in.
The film (like many other films and books written about Lincoln) deliberately skews Lincoln's role in passing the 13th amendment in order to falsely endow him with an almost God-like amount of humanity and integrity, when history has already shown him to be nothing but : He never fully embraced the 13th amendment, and only finally caved on supporting it when the politicians of his time essentially forced his hand on the issue.
Yet this film depicts him as a champion for equality who pushed hard for the passing of the amendment. I understand that Spielberg (like all directors) is a storyteller first and foremost, I just expected that given his history he'd have brought a more historically accurate look at Lincoln to the table.
I'm not anti-Lincoln, I'm anti-bullsh*t.
Furthermore I find it insulting to the audience's intelligence to see such egregious bullsh*t in a film that's purported to be historically accurate in the first place.
I also understand that when it comes to history specifically - There's always a certain amount of hyperbole and myth (Like George "I cannot tell a lie" Washington, or Columbus setting sail to prove that the Earth was round nearly 2,000 years after that fact had already been proven) that gets mixed in with the truth by the popular authors and reporters of the times, which makes for a more compelling story.
I realize that Spielberg never set out to paint the ultimate biopic/cinematic portrait of Lincoln : I just didn't expect the final product to be yet another in a long line of exercises in patently false and historically inaccurate idolatry.