David Thomson reviews Spielberg’s presidential portrait:
“Lincoln” is 149 minutes of dense talk and intricate political manoeuve. There is little action to speak of, and no glimpse of Lincoln’s assassination. There is a moment of Lincoln, gaunt and bent over on his horse, surely Christ-like, touring a battlefield, stepping amid the shattered corpses. Apart from that, this is a movie of rooms filled with smoke, the white light of winter, and the unceasing grumbling of politics, which is patient, cunning, and manipulative—whether discussing the freeing of the slaves or adding fat to pork in a bridge to nowhere for Ohio. Your children may not follow the complicated vote-gathering of the early months of 1865. They will not understand what Republican and Democrat meant then. They are unaccustomed to a film that unwinds so gradually, let alone one that relishes the politics of compromise and getting a thing done. This is more a film for Robert Caro than for the masters of combat video games.