Every once in a while a big biopic comes around, just as every once in a while comes a Daniel Day Lewis performance, and we always know that they are bound to have some love from the academy awards, and here we are: the biggest contender to the favorite ‘Argo’ (2012) is this presidential biopic directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Daniel Day Lewis, and it’s a fact that Lewis had the Oscar in his hands the moment in which it was announced that he would play one of the most famous north-american presidents in the world, and the fact that this isn’t an ‘origins’ movie, but a movie that fixates its events in one particular element and characteristic of his life as a president: the passing of the 13th ammendement that would give the slaves in the land of the south of the country a reason to fight and move on, a reason to live, something that was needed since the inception of every country that has ever existed: equality before the law and respect, no matter religion, race nor creed, and that wasn’t being respected totally… is that ever actually respected? Anyway, the thing is that this ammendment made a lot of changes possible in terms of actually considering black people human beings to even start things, and while the human rights and equality came slowly and are still being fought day after day by many nameless and faceless heroes, this man still stands tall above many of them because of his interest and honesty towards the issue, he found that the time had come to compromise himself, to take action and to take whatever would came with it, even death.
Now, here’s my principal and almost only beef towards the movie, and it’s so big that I think it brings the whole film down. Note, I say this as a complete fan of Steven Spielberg, I mean, I’ve liked most of his movies, he has a few masterpieces here and there, and he has created magnificent characters as well as impressive direction, he is a self-made man and I love that term and his personal story… that means, I have no problem whatsoever with what other people have told me that Spielberg is: an oversentimentalist, and I know what you’re thinking, am I really going to fall for that one for this particular time? Actually, no, I think that I’m just trying to express that the following statement is not something that comes from a standpoint where I think that cinema should be detached from the human soul, but the contrary, so I must say this: I think this movie has a bad ending, not only bad, it’s just unnecesary. Why? Why is it necessary to see… or, well, not exactly see, but put Lincoln’s murder inside the narrative of this film? I was so interested and invested in the movie, I was going crazy over it: the dialogue was great, the acting is superb and the cinematography was noteworthy, but the ending… oh my God, that ending was just awful, it was just put there because it’s a Lincoln movie and it needs to have the assassination there? It had the perfect frame… why ruin it with an event that comes in so late when it’s compared to the issue of the 13th ammendment? Can someone explain this, please?
So, I’ve talked a bit here and there about the plot, but I didn’t really dwelve that deep into the main performance of the film: the one that Daniel Day Lewis owns completely. With its special mannierisms and tone of voice, as well as its speeches that make up the most part of the incredible script that was used to make this film, and that is my main reason to admire its script: it was contained and focused, and when it goes away from the point that it’s trying to get across, it fails so miserably that I find it cringe-worthy, and you all know the moments in which this movie derails (and I’m not talking about the ending this time), and that is something sad to see. I really really wanted this to be a masterpiece, but Spielberg just went away and just went a bit off-topìc in certain passages and recollections of the life of the dear president. I know there’s a lot of love out there for the film, some call it a masterpiece, and I guess that I can’t argue with them, I see some elements that were unnecesary (and they were many for me to be forgotten or overrun by the emotion of the film itself). I must say that easily the best performance of the movie isn’t the one of Day Lewis, but the one of the supporting roles, the one played by Tommy Lee Jones: his turns and twists in his speech and life, as well as his final revelation make up for a compelling performance that I’m sure will win the Oscar for best supporting performance, alongside best adapted screenplay and the best actor award, out of its 12 nominations.