Thursday, September 13, 2012
Thoughts about the new Lincoln trailer.
It has finally arrived. The trailer for the new Lincoln film was almost an event upon itself. Was it worth it? Eh...
On the bright side, Day-Lewis looks fantastic. He looks authentic. Furthermore the costume design and look of the supporting characters in the film look authentic as well. The trailer does a good job of not giving too much away but just giving you a taste. Unfortunately, the music is really, really cheesy and the combination of that and the approach of the trailer almost looks like it's tailor-made for Academy Awards.
I don't like to throw around the term "Oscar bait" because I do think most filmmakers simply want to make great films. With Spielberg, there's basically two sides to him when it comes to the serious dramas that he makes. There's one side that is clear, calculated audience manipulation. A director's job is to manipulate the audience, but a great director does it in a way the audience can't detect. Once the audience starts to feel you're pulling one over them, you lose them forever. Spielberg's lesser dramas have a habit of going that route, this includes War Horse with its John Williams score that's perhaps the most overbearing soundtrack in a film that I've heard in a long time.
Lincoln looks like it could go either way, but it was written by Tony Kushner who also wrote Munich which showcased Spielberg's other side. The other side of Spielberg is a guy who isn't as afraid to put it out there. His films may still have a typical Spielberg touch but the best Spielberg films (Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan, Munich, even Minority Report) have a relentlessness about them that make them work. They take many more chances and risks and you can tell Spielberg is really hitting on something different. Munich goes into some really dark places as does Schindler's List of course. I feel like Munich is in some ways Spielberg's most mature film as it doesn't feel the need to tie things up in a typical feel-good fashion that Spielberg has a habit of doing. Spielberg wants his characters to win, you can ultimately sense that he has a strong faith in humanity which is why he'd choose a story like Schindler's List despite the Holocaust setting.
I'm hoping Lincoln goes for a more envelope-pushing route. It's got the great cast, it looks beautiful, and it has a great screenwriter involved. I hope John Williams is able to keep from making the score sound too sugary and sweet and I also hope we really get to understand Lincoln as a human being.