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6 Degrees Entertainment

'Lincoln' (Four Disc Blu-ray / DVD + Digital Copy)
(Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, David Strathairn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Spader. et al / 4 Disc Blu ray+DVD / NR / 2013 / Dreamworks)

Overview: Capturing the danger and excitement of political intrigue, Steven Spielberg's 'Lincoln' chronicles the final four months in the life of the man regarded as America's greatest President. Starring Daniel Day-Lewis in the title role, the untold story focuses on a defining moment in Abraham Lincoln's life - as commander-in-chief of a country in chaos; as a husband and father afraid of losing his own son to the war; and as a man guided by his conscience to end slavery.

Blu ray Verdict: The opening scene of the movie, in which a small group of youthful Union soldiers reverently recite passages from the Gettysburg Address to Abe Lincoln, almost ruined "Lincoln" for me. My heart sank and I thought: Oh no, not another cornball Spielberg movie like "Saving Private Ryan."

Fortunately this signature Spielberg gesture (no competent screenwriter would have approved such hokey sentimentality) was the last. Once Tony Kushner's script kicks into high gear things really begin to move forward and the narrative of the adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution proceeds to its thrilling climax. Along the way we learn a good deal about the personal Lincoln we might not have known, and about legislative processes of the Civil War Congress.

Little has changed: money and influence peddling ruled the Capital. (You thought today's politicians were cynical?) That said, the art of political speech in those days was superior to today's Congressional flannel-mouths (Lincoln wasn't the only practitioner of soaring political rhetoric). And Tony Kushner's grasp of the historical details of the American legislative process is impressive. Thank you Doris Kearns Goodwin.

Daniel Day-Lewis's characterization of Lincoln was a revelation: compelling and nuanced. There wasn't a moment when I didn't feel I was in the presence of Lincoln. Was it a bit of a sacrilege to cast a Brit as America's greatest president? Well, not exactly. The English have always participated in our political dramas: if it hadn't been for the intervention of an Englishman, the Liberty Bell would have been melted down for candleholders.

I remarked that the first scene was the only instance of Spielberg's signature sentimentality, but there was another at the end, as Lincoln dies, and the Secretary of War, Edwin M. Stanton intones with all the subtlety of a grade school play, "Now he belongs to the ages." There is some question as to whether Stanton actually uttered these words at the time, or whether they were added to the story as an afterthought; in any event, if Spielberg felt the need to use such a quote, it should not have been so prominently showcased, but a subdued thread in the fabric of the scene.

And so, and with all that said, this movie IS incredible, and most all will strugle to find enough positive words to describe it. Indeed, even I was stunned with its intelligence and emotional depth. It should have won the best picture Oscar, because I feel that it will become one of the best films ever made; ever viewed in schools the world over. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.40:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:

Disc 1:
Blu ray Feature Film
The Journey To Lincoln Featurette (HD, 9 min.)
A Historic Tapestry: Richmond, Virginia (HD, 4 min.)

Disc 2:
In the Company of Character (HD, 10 min.)
Crafting the Past (HD, 11 min.)
Living with Lincoln (HD, 27 min.)
In Lincoln's Footsteps (HD, 17 min.)

Disc 3:
DVD Feature Film
The Journey To Lincoln Featurette (HD, 9 min.)

Disc 4:
Digital Copy of Feature Film.

www.dreamworksstudios.com





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