Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Honest Abe

I've been "away" for a while. Busy with work and (surprisingly) there has been little of late to inspire back to writing, until my last flight to Moscow.

I had the pleasure to watch the movie 'Lincoln".

One of my great regrets in life is not paying enough attention to History in school. Its a subject I thoroughly enjoy, and am fortunate to have a second chance to study it now through my kids. While my interest and knowledge has grown tremendously in the years since I left full time education, the focus of my learnings has been more on Europe history … I have very little knowledge about the far flung British colony that Christopher Columbus discovered by accident when he was actually looking for India!

The movie of Lincoln tells the incredible tale of how "Honest Abe" was resolute in his fight to free the slaves. With the Civil War raging, he was man of clear principle who didn't back down under untold pressure until what was right was done.

Many will know the story already, and as its historical, there is no spoiling the story by revealing that Lincoln succeeded in this noble quest, but the telling of how it was down is remarkable.

It was a different time and then only resemblance's of todays politics with those of old were that corruption is / was rampant and that the majority of politicians are pompous windbags who are self serving without truly considering or reflecting the desires of their constituents.

What is notably different is how the President of the United States, even at a time of Civil War, could move about freely in his own country without an entourage of security,allowing him the freedom to truly connect with the populace.

Of course this "freedom" suited a character like Abraham Lincoln … he used that opportunity for "good".

So this movie touched me, not only by its story (of which I wasn't aware previously), but also by its telling. Lincoln is an exceptional production. A story so beautifully told and filmed on sets that give us a real feel of what the country would have felt and looked like a century or more ago at a time of great strife. There are no glamorous costumes and great reproductions of the interior of the White House … instead the film is played in a remarkably "honest" environment and is backed up by some superlative acting performances, namely from Tommy Lee Jones and Sally Field, but it is capped by a masterful rendition of the great leader himself by Daniel Day Lewis.

Now I know that this is the movie most prevalent in my mind right now, and I will be doing a great injustice to a number of movies and actors that don't spring to mind, but I rank this as one of the compelling acting performances I have ever seen. Mr. Lewis portrays a man who is clearly troubled by the state of his nation. A man who wants to right a grave human injustice and takes the responsibility to do this, despite the great cost involved. He also manages to show a real human side to the President who is also a caring father and husband. He does this all and yet leaves us in no doubt that Abraham Lincoln was a leader and a good man and the acting (by everyone) never betrays that we are watching a story from a time gone by.

Thanks to all of those who made this movie and have given us a great new piece of performance art … I now only wish I had seen it on a "big screen"

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