in theaters now, Lincoln

I’ve heard some positive reviews of the new Lincoln biopic… from people who like this sort of thing — who like forms of slow mo speecifying with reminiscent Ken Burns esque film-making.  It’s “Oscar Bait”, but good Oscar Bait…

Then there’s this dissent.  Making political points and getting over to…

he tension driving the film is between Lincoln’s conviction that the Constitution must be amended to ban slavery before the Confederacy’s surrender, and the countervailing political pressures to negotiate an immediate peace and sacrifice all chance of a 13th Amendment. Lincoln’s argument rests on the status of slaves not as people but as war contraband belonging to the victorious North. The amendment’s enactment, therefore, is depicted not as a triumph of morality but, as the result of clever lawyering, petty patronage and personal will.

The action centers on the governing elites, depicting Lincoln as the ultimate insider. Thus, if you are only going to see one Lincoln biopic this year, I heartily recommend instead Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, which—after a brief theatrical run this summer—is now available on DVD. Its fantastical narrative is actually the more truthful in showing how revolutionary change gets accomplished through the militancy and mobilization of outsiders and the oppressed.

Just to make the bottom down approach, I guess.  I suppose they’ll only love a Jefferson biopic if it slides into this realm.

Wake me up when the Chester Arthur biopic comes out.


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