Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Silver Linings Playbook

Academy Award Nominations: 8

·         Best Picture
·         Best Director (David O. Russell)
·         Best Actor (Bradley Cooper)
·         Best Supporting Actor (Robert De Niro)
·         Best Actress (Jennifer Lawrence)
·         Best Supporting Actress (Jacky Weaver)
·         Best Adapted Screenplay (David O. Russell)
·         Best Film Editing (Jay Cassidy & Crispin Struthers)

Pat has just spent the last eight months in a mental institution in Baltimore after the breakdown of his marriage and subsequent bipolar diagnosis. Having been released into the care of his parents, he becomes determined to get his life back on track by starting on bipolar medication, seeing a therapist, and trying to win back his wife Nikki by reading her teaching syllabus and getting his job as a substitute teacher back at her school. However, his plans to get back on track are derailed by Tiffany, his friend’s sister in law, with whom he begins a strange friendship as they become fascinated with one another. When Tiffany reveals Pat could send letters to Nikki through her and bypass her restraining order against him, she wants something in return: A dance partner for an upcoming competition…
Silver Linings Playbook is the undeniable success story of this year’s award season. Not only has this film attained nominations in all four acting categories, the first film to do so since Reds in 1981, but it’s the first film since Million Dollar Baby in 2004 to achieve nominations in The Big Five (Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Screenplay). It’s a hugely impressive feat, yet you think back on all the films that have come and gone since Million Dollar Baby, surely there was one on there that could/should have done it before now? And now it’s been achieved by what seems to be a bog standard rom-com? There must be something to it. On the face of it, all the major players are there, they just need a good script behind them…. For the most part, it is, but it’s nothing spectacular.

David O. Russell has a knack for writing and directing pure life stories, opening a window into everyday life in an extraordinary situation. He did a fantastic job with The Fighter, producing some great performances from Christian Bale and Melissa Leo and creating an emotive story, so it’s a strange but not completely unjustifiable decision for him to take on board this story of two broken people trying to find their way in the world again. So what makes this more than the bog standard rom-com? Firstly, the cast. Bradley Cooper is the leading man here and delivers his best performance in anything I’ve ever seen him in, he’s given something more than one-dimensional character for once and he runs with it, possibly opening the door for future roles like this. Then there’s his co-lead, Jennifer Lawrence. Her performance in Winter’s Bone a few years ago was stellar, and she’s proven herself to be Hollywood’s next big thing with films like The Hunger Games. She’s good here, albeit flat at times and unemotive, but then that’s part of her character, so one could argue that it’s a better performance that deliberately doesn’t evoke a reaction with audiences.

As for the supporting cast, where do you begin? Robert De Niro is great as Pat’s dad, pulling off mild OCD and a gambling addiction with subtlety, no overacting or ham-fistedness here. Jacki Weaver also delivers a powerful performance as Pat’s mum, generating the most evocative reaction of all the actors on show. Even Chris Tucker is good as Pat’s friend from the mental institution; it’s an all-round great performance from the entire cast. All of this, you have to put down to David O. Russell’s adaptation of the book and creating a solid script from the material he’s given. My only problem is that this doesn’t really do anything spectacular plot wise.

As far as the story goes, there’s nothing spectacular about it. There are a few troubled characters, but it’s nothing life-threatening or truly drama-inducing like those in The Fighter. The characters seem to be more quirky than troubled and that didn’t help my enjoyment of this film. If anything, it seemed as if ‘mental health issues’ was used as a by-word for quirkiness and originality here. Pat’s problems created the drama, and Tiffany’s manifestation of her grief in losing her husband became a parallel for Pat’s problems, even the two issues are incomparable. Even though the two main characters have problems, the rom-com formula remains the same with no real inventive twists or turns which I’d expect from something from Russell. It’s a shame, but then this film isn’t about what happens, it’s more about who it happens to.

Overall, Silver Linings Playbook is unspectacular apart from a host of great performances from its ensemble cast. The plot is nothing special, and the writing and dialogue is OK at best, but Cooper, Lawrence, De Niro and Weaver make this film somewhat memorable. I had expected a little bit more given the number of plaudits it was receiving and given O. Russell’s history of quality filmmaking, but I was mildly disappointed. It’s a good watch, just not great. It’s well directed, but nothing spectacular. In short, Silver Linings Playbook is unfortunately generic, average and relies heavily on its actors to not fade into obscurity.

Rating: ***

Silver Linings Playbook was released on 21st November 2012 and is no longer being shown in cinemas.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Les Misérables

Academy Award Nominations: 8

·         Best Picture
·         Best Actor (Hugh Jackman)
·         Best Supporting Actress (Anne Hathaway)
·         Best Costume Design (Paco Delgado)
·         Best Makeup & Hairstyling (Lisa Westcott)
·         Best Original Song (Suddenly)
·         Best Production Design
·         Best Sound Mixing

In 1815 France, Jean Valjean is released from slavery after a 19 year sentence by prison officer Javert. He decides a convict's life will get him nowhere, so he breaks parole and starts a new life under a new identity. Eight years later, he is the mayor of a small town and factory owner. Fantine, one of his workers, is fired for sending her wages to her illegitimate daughter being cared for in another town. Valjean has his own problems though, as Javert returns and recognises him when he tries to save Fantine from a life of prostitution. He goes on the run, and decides to save Fantine's daughter, Cosette, on the way. Together they go on the run. Nine years later, with revolution in the air, Cosette is now a young woman, who gathers her fair share of admirers, while Valjean is an old man who refuses to reveal his and hers pasts, but can he summon the strength to take on an angry, brooding Javert one last time...?

Les Misérables is known the world round. Not as the classic Victor Hugo novel which has entertained and depressed generations of readers, but as the worldwide smash-hit musical which has graced the world's stages and entertained millions with its story of hard lives and bleak futures for everyone to laugh at, so it was only a matter of time before someone decided to bring it to the screen, much as countless other musicals have been, both successfully and dreadfully. It's a multi-faceted tale of revolution and slavery and struggle... So who better to bring it to the big screen than the man who gave the world The King's Speech two years ago, made millions upon millions of people smile at a stuttering king and won countless awards for it? So does it work? Has the transition from stage to screen been seemless? Umm... No. No it hasn't.

I'm not a big fan of musicals to begin with, but I have tried to be as objective as possible while reviewing this and to treat this like any other film. Something which was made difficult by the fact this isn't a film. It's a stage performance with bigger sets and bigger stars. I understand that this might be how the musical is, with everybody singing the dialogue instead of speaking it and creating a seemless link between songs... But this is a film. It's fine if that happens on stage, because you get a break half way through. But this is a relentless two and a half hour singsong, with dialogue between the songs being unnecessarily sung and unnecessarily performed instead of just spoken. It's just frustrating. In a film, you need a structure, with coherent dialogue, and this film lacks it entirely by simply making this a film version of the stage show. It also has too much ambiguity, not that that's a bad thing in films, but I didn't know the story going into this and I got very lost within the first half an hour because there was nothing there to explain the storyline properly, just people singing songs about how they feel instead of giving me a coherent plot to enjoy. Sorry for being a film purist, but I like my films to have a coherent plot.

That being said, I did enjoy a handful of the performances in Les Mis. Hugh Jackman is a showman, and he's in his element here, playing the lead Jean Valjean as he struggles through life. In the beginning, he's engaging and sensitive. By the end, he puts in a heartbreaking performance. Really good stuff. Anne Hathaway is also fantastic here as Fantine, you really feel for her as she becomes one of "les misérables" and struggles through life before her untimely demise. It means Hathaway is in the film for little more than half an hour, but she makes a memorable impact. Other than that, Russell Crowe isn't great, but surprisingly better than I assumed he would be. However, when you're singspeaking your words to what seem to be the same tune all the way through the film, it would be hard to mess it up as badly as, say, Pierce Brosnan in Mamma Mia? Apparently that's a bad thing? Amanda Seyfried starred as older Cosette, which makes it a shame that she has an annoying singing voice, yet she's going to be able to put "starred in the two biggest film musicals of all time" on her IMDB page, very strange. Isabelle Allen is far better as the young Cosette. Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter are mildly entertaining as the evil Thénardiers as well.

The film itself looks great. The sets are lavish and extravagant, the costumes are detailed and authentic, and the soundtrack is tried and tested on an audience of millions so the actors know which beats to hit and where the greatest amount of emotion will be evoked. The camera work is interesting as well, a lot of handheld camera and Dutch tilts, but I actually liked it and personally, I would have liked to have seen Tom Hooper nominated for best director for this, as I think there's more stylistic flourishes and expression on display here than there was in The King's Speech. The cinematography is brave too, getting extremely up close and personal with the French Revolution. It's clear that they put all of the thought into the look of the film rather than the substance, they've literally transplanted the stage script and score onto the big screen so you're not getting anything new in that regard, other than the Hollywood A-listers singing them. That aspect just seems lazy to me, it's as if they've forgotten they had a fantastic source novel to work from, add dialogue from, add element of the story from to help with the transition, instead of solely relying on the stage musical.

Overall, it seems as if Les Mis presents a lost opportunity. They could have written a fantastic script with the music from the stage show worked into a well-scripted dialogue-centric script. Instead, they picked up the play and threw it onto the big screen and it just doesn't work. It cheats the audience too, as they don't get anything new from the film that they wouldn't have gotten from the stage show. This was an opportunity to present Les Mis to a whole new audience, but instead they aimed squarely at the audience they already have and will have, given its successes on Broadway and the West End. The main cast are good, the ensemble know their lines well from having been on stage with it, and the mise-en-scene was as good as any Hollywood production. Before going into this, I'd never seen Les Misérables on stage. After sitting through this, I feel like I don't need to, nor would I ever want to.

Rating: **

Les Misérables was released on 11th January 2013 and is still being shown in cinemas.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Django Unchained

Academy Award Nominations: 5

·         Best Picture
·         Best Supporting Actor (Christoph Waltz)
·         Best Original Screenplay (Quentin Tarantino)
·         Best Cinematography (Robert Richardson)
·         Best Sound Editing

In the Deep South of America, before the Civil War and before the slaves were freed by President Lincoln, Django has just been sold away from his wife, Broomhilda, to the Speck brothers. However, Dr King Schultz is interested in acquiring Django for his own purposes; giving to him his freedom and getting Django to help him track down bounties in his role as a bounty hunter. After Schultz and Django spend the winter together, tracking bounties, Schultz agrees to help Django find his wife and reunite the pair when the snow melts. Their hunt leads them to Candyland, a plantation where Broomhilda is being kept as a slave of Calvin Candie, a charismatic but ruthless slave owner with a passion for ‘mandingo fighting’, slaves trained to fight to the death for entertainment purposes. Under the guise of mandingo fighter buyers, Django and Schultz devise a plan to enter Candyland and free Broomhilda once and for all…

Quentin Tarantino. The mere mention of his name evokes the strongest, most polarising reactions from film scholars, academics and fans alike. Most people know what to expect now from a Tarantino film. Plenty of over the top violence, plenty of stylish dialogue which make all of his characters sound like they’ve worked in a video store ala Tarantino, and plenty of historical inaccuracies in order to tell the story he wants to tell the way he wants to tell it, all played out through a number of recurring actors and actresses who act to constantly inspire Tarantino and help to bring out the best in one another. He’s had his muses in the past; Michael Madsen inspired him to create some memorable characters, Uma Thurman helped him create characters and films that’ll stick in the minds of many, but in his latest muse, he may have found the person who’s bringing out the absolute best in him, and he’s delivering some unbelievable roles to this man: Christoph Waltz.

Inglourious Basterds lived or died on whether Tarantino could find the right man to play Hans Landa, and he found him in Christoph Waltz. However, Django Unchained gave Tarantino a new, more exciting challenge. Now he had his new muse, he could write a role specifically tailored for him, and boy does he deliver with Dr King Schlutz. Fantastic storytelling for once played out through some superb dialogue and another fantastic Waltz performance. And it’s not just Waltz who shines here. It seems Waltz’s influence is rubbing off on Tarantino’s writing process, however, as he gifts fantastic roles for and coaxes some excellent performances out of Leonardo Di Caprio as Calvin Candie and Samuel L. Jackson having more than a cameo role for the first time in a Tarantino film since Jackie Brown playing Stephen, Calvin’s staunchly loyal if slightly decrepit house slave. They’re two great and one phenomenal supporting performance, so one would assume that Django, Jamie Foxx, our leading man, would have the best role of them all? Umm, not so much…

If anything, the character Django is here to play two roles. One, to bring the film in line with a history of Django films which Tarantino is aiming to pay homage to and recreate the style of, and two, to bring together all of the other fantastic roles he’s written. It just seems that Django is the generic Tarantino cool black guy, there’s nothing exceptional about the character like there is in Schultz, Candie, and Stephen. He’s a strong leading man, and you certainly can’t help but his impact washed out by those other three supporting characters. It’s a shame, but that’s just how it is. In all fairness, when Django is on his own or when he’s with Stephen who he has great chemistry with, Jamie Foxx is allowed to shine and is captivating, but he becomes a supporting character to Schultz and Candie here, and often a support to the cameos by Jonah Hill (Did YOU know he was in this film?) and Tarantino himself.

Tarantino seems to have altered his usual visual style with Django as well as he attempts to make the spaghetti western he tried and failed to make with Kill Bill Volume 2. There are no overhead tracking shots at play here, instead a number of pull zooms in the style of old school spaghetti westerns or the low budget Django films of old. The gore is more over the top here than usual as well, as any gunshot is followed up by what seems to be a balloon full of blood bursting into the air, and people getting blown away beyond reality. It’s over the top but it fits the style of what he’s trying to achieve and so it works in a strange way. The film also looks great and keeps up a good pace, which was a worry of mine given this would be the first Tarantino film since the untimely passing of Sally Menke, Tarantino’s usual editor, but Fred Raskin steps up from assistant to lead editor and makes Django look fantastic.

Overall, Django is extremely entertaining if a little misguided in whose story Tarantino is trying to tell. The visual style is refreshingly different for him and the dialogue has never sounded better coming from the mouths of Christoph Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson and Leonardo Di Caprio. It’s not a usual Tarantino effort, but at the same time it is, it’s a strange hybrid of new, old and old which he pulls off with aplomb. There’s a worry that this three hour film contains a few scenes that could have been cut out, maybe the first hour could have been shorter, but ultimately it helps to build up his lead characters so it’s easily justifiable. Will this win Best Picture? No, because it’s a Tarantino film. Should it? Based on what I’ve seen, then yes, yes it absolutely should. My love and hate for Tarantino comes and goes with every release of his. Django may have just swung my love for his work permanently to the good side.

Rating: *****

Django Unchained was released on 18th January 2013 and is still being shown in cinemas.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Life of Pi

Academy Award Nominations: 11

·         Best Picture
·         Best Director (Ang Lee)
·         Best Adapted Screenplay (David Magee)
·         Best Cinematography (Claudio Miranda)
·         Best Film Editing (Tim Squyres)
·         Best Original Score (Mychael Danna)
·         Best Original Song (Pi’s Lullaby)
·         Best Production Design
·         Best Sound Editing
·         Best Sound Mixing
·         Best Visual Effects

Piscine Molitor Patel, Pi for short, is a man who has led an extraordinary life and has a story to tell “that will make you believe in God”. As a young man, he keeps an open mind regarding faith and belief, subscribing to a number of different beliefs in order to love God as strongly as he can. When revolution begins to emerge in India, Pi’s father decides to move the family to Canada and sell their zoo’s animals to American zoos. However, when they all begin their journey on a Japanese freighter, Mother Nature has different plans for Pi, as the atrocious weather sinks the ship, and Pi is left to fight for survival in a lifeboat containing an orangutan, a zebra, a hyena, and a ferocious Bengal tiger named Richard Parker…

For many years, Life of Pi was considered unfilmable. The book was phenomenally popular, a worldwide success, yet making a motion picture seemed to be impossible. The entire concept of the book makes it an unappealing prospect for any potential writer or director. Step up, Ang Lee. A renowned director with a few blemishes on his record; you can talk of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Brokeback Mountain and Sense and Sensibility all you like, but no-one will ever let him forget his ‘unique’ take on comic book films with Hulk. However, fantastic visuals are Lee’s signature, and if anyone could possibly step up to the challenge of creating a film based around a single location and animals, it would be him. His solution? Create the world’s largest wave pool, and create the single best looking CGI tiger the world’s ever seen. Did he pull it off? Amazingly, yes, but not with a few shortcomings.

I won’t beat around the bush. Life of Pi is visually stunning. I've said it quite a few times now, but I've yet to see anything like this. The CGI is incredible, the film is beautifully shot and the visual set-pieces are incredible. It also has the best, and dare I say most appropriate, use of 3D I've seen since the technology’s relaunch. It’s clear the film has a vast network of visual artists to thank for its successes, but you have to think that Ang Lee was the man behind the madness and deserves huge plaudits for having the imagination and fortitude to be able to bring something like this to the screen and to do so on such a grandiose scale is incredible. It’s a 2 hour film in which, in all honesty, not a whole lot happens, but it doesn't feel that way while you’re watching. While you’re sat looking at the screen, it feels like there’s always some kind of stimulus, whether it’s plot advancement or epic visuals. Part of that is owed to who you see on screen.

Suraj Sharma is amazing as 16 year old Pi, stuck on a lifeboat with a tiger. He carries the burden of his character’s emotional weight with aplomb and performs spectacularly given he was acting alone with only the faintest idea of a Bengal tiger in front of his eyes, and only descriptions of flying fish and whales to act his reactions to. He’s engaging, and delivers a powerful, emotive performance. Aside from that, it’s hard to say who else put in a stellar performance because of the lack of screen time anyone other than Pi and the animated tiger. I guess you could say the tiger performed well, but… Maybe not.

When you take away the stunning visuals and performances, however, you’re left with a basic story of survival, both on a grander scale as Pi finds himself cast adrift after a shipwreck and on a smaller scale as he copes with living in a confined space with a wild animal. Essentially, it’s the same problem 127 Hours faced, but I'm of the opinion that Life of Pi doesn't do it as well. Because 127 Hours took place over a shorter space of time, and because of how realistic certain scenes were, it felt like a document that was surprisingly relatable. Life of Pi gives you the feeling of being stranded at sea, with the added bit of tiger, which pulls you away from becoming truly involved with the story. You can find better, more dedicated survival stories in worse films. I understand, though, that the film is more about the relationship between the boy and his tiger, but that’s drawn out and is repeated until it suddenly turns, there doesn't seem to be an in-between stage in their relationship like there would be between two humans. There’s a good 90 minute film in this 2 hours. This book was considered unfilmable for a reason, and Ang Lee barely gets away with it, but it’s slim. That and a minor quibble about differentiating aspect ratios in certain scenes and the spoon-fed ending are what ultimately let the film down somewhat.

However, that’s what worries me. I see Life of Pi as being like the Avatar of this year’s Best Picture nominees: All style, little substance. This film does hold up better than Avatar though. The plot is thicker and more emotionally involving, even if very little really happens in the 2 hours. The plus side of it being too long is that you have more time to become attached to Pi and Richard Parker, which can only benefit the film. That, added with extraordinary visuals (in particular, one scene where the water is as clear as air) makes this a surprisingly entertaining watch, as it carries the pretence of action despite nothing happening, something you don’t realise until you think about it later on as I'm doing now. If I had written this straight after I saw it, it maybe would have scored higher, but that wouldn't have been fair. On reflection, despite nothing happening, plenty happened. The unfilmable is made filmable, but it’s fighting a wave of extremely strong contenders this year.

Rating: ****

Life of Pi was released on 20th December 2012 and is still being shown in cinemas.

Saturday, 19 January 2013


Academy Award Nominations: 12

·         Best Picture
·         Best Director (Steven Spielberg)
·         Best Actor (Daniel Day-Lewis)
·         Best Supporting Actor (Tommy Lee Jones)
·         Best Supporting Actress (Sally Field)
·         Best Adapted Screenplay (Tony Kushner)
·         Best Cinematography (Janusz Kaminski)
·         Best Costume Design (Joanna Johnston)
·         Best Film Editing (Michael Kahn)
·         Best Original Score (John Williams)
·         Best Production Design
·         Best Sound Mixing

1865. President Abraham Lincoln has just been re-elected for his second term with America deep in the throws of the American Civil War. Having signed the Emancipation Proclamation temporarily freeing the slaves for the war effort, he is determined to push through the 13th Amendment to the Constitution as soon as possible, abolishing slavery once and for all. However, with his belief that war will end within the month, he's determined to push the amendment through Congress as soon as possible, before all the southern states return and defeat his motion. Even if he can convince his entire party to vote yea on the amendment, he will still need the support of a worrying large number of Democratic congressmen in order to gain the two thirds majority needed. Thus, Lincoln must go out and meet his enemies and convince them to go against their party's line and free the slaves...

Steven Spielberg has spent a long time trying to entertain the masses and bring joy to families worldwide, along with mixing in the occasional adult-orientated historical film. However, in the last decade or so, the shift from family entertainment has seen his role shift more toward producer rather than director. Instead, he's saving his eye for an increasing amount of adult dramas. Films like Munich, Catch Me If You Can and more recently War Horse have shown Spielberg's eye for an adaptation and an obsession with accurately recreating history, whether in a fictional or non-fictional context. Now, with Lincoln, Spielberg's passion project which he's been waiting years to be able to do, he reproduces another literary adaptation in another historical context, going into uncharted territories this time by visiting the American Civil War rather than a World War, and bringing Abraham Lincoln, the man who freed the slaves, to the screen. So who better to bring such a character to life than the man who lives his roles: Daniel Day-Lewis.

Daniel Day-Lewis's method acting method has brought him immense plaudits previously, and this performance should be no different. By immersing himself with a role, he is able to get inside the mind of his characters and essentially becomes them for the duration of the production. The results of which are seen on screen, and Day-Lewis has now proven that this is no one-off, producing stellar performance after stellar performance, and Lincoln is now different. The voice, the mannerisms, the speech, it's all down to a tee, so much so that it often feels like a documentary when combined with the highly-detailed sets and extraordinary dialogue from a well-written script. It's performances like this which explains how he's able to pick and choose roles as he pleases, and explains why Spielberg was so adamant that this production lived or died on whether he accepted the role. He's ably supported by a top notch supporting cast and a director with an eye for a dramatic moment, but above all else, it's Day Lewis' performance that'll be the talking point of the 2012-13 film year.

Speaking of the supporting cast, Sally Field is surprisingly good, evoking a range of emotions in a short space of time as Mary Todd, however at time it feels as though she's neglected to a background actress rather than a supporting actress. If anything, the wife of the main character is often overshadowed by an excellent performance by Tommy Lee Jones, playing Thaddeus Stevens, a staunch supporter of slavery abolition. He's genuine, given some great dialogue to deliver and plays a pivotal role in the film. He provides the comic relief in the film, and pulls off a heart warming, heart felt, silent victory when the amendment passes (spoiler alert). It's a moment of real emotion played out on screen and one of the great moments in the film. Other than that, the rest of the supporting cast was outstanding, with stand outs David Costabile of Breaking Bad fame as James Ashley and Michael Stuhlbarg of Boardwalk Empire fame as George Yeaman, alongside a surprisingly empty performance by Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Robert Todd Lincoln.

The film itself looks and feels authentic, but that's to be expected now from a Spielberg production. There may not be Kubrick-levels of research and dedication involved, but Spielberg's demands for authenticity are now legendary, albeit with a handful of inaccuracies in order to make the story at hand more cohesive. It was one of the limited amount of good things about War Horse, and one of the many good things about Lincoln. The mise-en-scene in general; the costumes, the props, the scenery, it all seems genuine and authentic and painstakingly gathered together. The dialogue, as well, is fantastic, it's a greatly written film with fantastic dialogue, especially when Lincoln uses a parable to inspire the people around him. There's no fat on the script either, because of how important a multitude of factors were into getting the amendment passed and building up the strength of the character of Lincoln, every scene is as important as the last, which makes the two and a half hour run time fly past.

Overall, Lincoln is truly engaging, the most engaging historical biopic I've seen in a long, long time. By focusing on a particular period of Lincoln's life which brought out the best in the man, whether or not he did anything else, this is what he'll be remembered for.It was a bold move, also, by not focusing on his assassination, but instead solely focusing on his efforts to pass the constitution and it works. The acting is superb, the writing is magnificent and the film looks incredible. I want to be able to fault it, especially after Spielberg made me watch War Horse last year, but I just can't. But therein lies the problem. Even though I can't fault it, it's not a particularly stand-out film for me. It's not sticking with me as great films tend to. This is an interesting watch, and it deserves some plaudits, but it's not the unforgettable cinematic experience I had hoped for.

Rating: ****1/2

Lincoln will be released in cinemas on the 25th January 2013.