The big promotional push for Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” took place today with the launch of the first trailer and a web chat with both Spielberg and actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
While not as blatantly schmaltzy as last year’s “War Horse” previews, the trailer is both very much awards-bait and current-era Spielberg formula. Focusing almost entirely on the former President’s efforts to abolish slavery through legislation, there’s already been debate about Daniel Day-Lewis’ higher-pitched than expected voice which is reportedly historically accurate.
On the upside there’s an excellent cast, rousing score, and solid visuals. On the down it’s self-important and stuffy, line after line of stilted and self-aware platitudes. I’m hoping the final film offers something with more dimension and weight.
American history buffs will enjoy, the question is if the film will be able to reach beyond that demographic. Internationally the project is a tough sell as, aside from Lincoln himself and maybe Ulysses S. Grant, names like Thaddeus Stevens and William Seward mean nothing.
The film is slated for a limited release starting on November 9th before expanding wide on the 16th.