Wednesday, 27 February 2013


   It's been quite some time since the wifey and I last caught a movie at the cinema. By some stroke of  divine appointment, we decided to do "something crazy" last Sat. Thus we found ourselves in the cinema at midnight waiting for the latest political drama - Lincoln.
   This is the sort of movie that you either love or hate totally. The cinema was full when the show began but there was at least one empty row when it ended. If political intrigue is not your "thing", you would best stay away. Fortunately, being the former political science students that we are, we enjoyed it tremendously. You would enjoy it too if you're into courtroom drama. 
Get it?
   "Lincoln" goes behind the scenes of American politics during the Civil War. It portrays a Republican US President determined to give legal teeth to the Emancipation Declaration by passing the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution through the House of Representatives. All along I thought that proclaiming freedom to slaves was enough; apparently this was not so.
   The movie clearly depicts the horse trading and shady back-room deals needed to get Democrats to vote for the Amendment. It brings to mind the reality that politics is never clean. It even some times borders on the immoral and the telling of lies. It also emphasizes the great role that civil servants play in shaping the effectiveness of policy. As the wifey pointed out, a good civil servant is one who provides solutions instead of simply taking orders (this coming from a top civil servant herself).
Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens (Leader of the Radical Republican Faction) in my favorite name-calling scene of all time.
   You'd be disappointed if you expect lots of action. The movie derives it's entertainment value from the clever power plays. There is also no lack of moments of nail-biting suspense. I quite enjoyed the comic scenes where law-makers started calling each other names. One which got me really guffawing (to the wifey's chargrin) was the scene where the whole House got into an uproar at the suggestion that women would one day be allowed to vote.
   "Lincoln" really helped me to understand why he is held in such high esteem. Having been to Washington, it all now makes sense. Daniel Day-Lewis truly deserves his Oscar as the leading character. This is one show that you must not miss if you are into history, politics or if you are a fan of understanding the human condition - moral struggles and all. There is a reason why this movie was nominated for 12 Academy Awards.One note of caution though; don't forget to bring along your brain.

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