'The Better Angels'
(Diane Kruger, Wes Bentley, Brit Marling, Jason Clarke, et al / DVD / PG / 2015 / Anchor Bay Entertainment)
Overview: At an isolated log cabin in the harsh wilderness of Indiana circa 1817, the rhythms of love, tragedy, and the daily hardships of life on the developing frontier shaped one of our nation's greatest heroes: Abraham Lincoln. Using glorious black and white cinematography to conjure an America where the land was raw, The Better Angels sheds new light on the formative years of the future president and the two women who molded him into one of the most revered men in American history.
DVD Verdict: It's been claimed that 'The Better Angels' is "history in the making," but, and in complete truth, the film could be just any story about any young boy growing up. Then again, once you feel the vibe, embrace the story being told, get on track with what you now understand, you internally will soon agree that it's simply not, after all.
For yes, it's a young Abe Lincoln, BUT if you don't read up on this movie, you will [perhaps just could] completely miss that fact. So while it was obvious this was going to be a black and white film [just checking out the cover art of the DVD was enough to give me that correct realization], I didn't instantly know what it was about. That aside, we follow Lincoln through his formative years and witness the childhood events that slowly changed and shaped Lincolns destiny, making it possible for him to overcome poverty and leave the back woods of Indiana.
It played at the Festival in Berlin, which does not always says a lot about the quality of the movie itself, but anyway it was an undertaking I was more than happy to endure. Presented by Terrence Malick - an American film director, screenwriter, and producer who in a career spanning over four decades has only directed six films; although one of those was his directorial debut, 'Badlands' - 'The Better Angels' is based on 19th-century interviews with Lincoln's family members, and most definitely is [possible early onset confusion aside] a beautiful, insightful, and brilliantly composed feature debut from producer Malick's longtime protégé, A.J. Edwards. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.