Google Play Hangout w/Steven Spielberg & Joseph Gordon-Levitt for the Lincoln trailer premiere:

Load More Related Articles
Load More By Ryan Adams
Load More In Trailers
  • JP

    Looks pretty epic!

  • Looks pretty good, I’m loving DDL already! The resemblance is scary and his voice manipulation is impressive. If I was just listening, I wouldn’t guess it was Daniel Day Lewis. I can detect Meryl Streep’s voice even when she does her accents, so this is really impressive.

  • ProfoundBark

    I can be a bit cynical, but found it very moving.

  • Tero Heikkinen

    I have to watch it again before forming an opinion. But it was fun having technical problems in real time with Steven Spielberg himself.

    Still listening to Spielberg, as I type this.

  • Pacwest

    The full trailer is available here:

  • Matty Negs

    Cinematography, art direction, costumes, make up and best actor nominations are all locks, based on this one trailer alone!

  • LSUduck

    To quote the Awards Circuit’s Clayton Davis:

    “Ummm…That Lincoln trailer was….ummmm…War Horsey”

    Yes indeed. As I said before, this is “War Horse: Civil War edition” it seems. DDL looks impressive but the rest of the trailer didn’t excite me too much.

    War Horse had a greater effect on me and considering the subject matter for both, that’s not a good sign.

  • Jeremy09

    Feels very safe and restrained, but I’m not sure what else I was expecting.

    Will probably win BP over The Master and Django, to the chagrin of movie geeks everywhere.

  • Monica

    I also did not like the trailer.

  • alan

    for some reason, the first time we hear him speak made me think of ‘Simple Jack’ from “tropic thunder”

    “i have a g, g, g, good brain”

  • Tyler

    Wow!! I’m Canadian and that trailer gave me chills how real it looks. DDL can do no wrong in my book.

  • Tero Heikkinen

    It sure wasn’t the best cut trailer around (I also found the fade out/fade in effect irritating), but the film may still be pretty good. Based on this, I don’t think it can win BP over The Master and a couple of other hopefuls. Anyone remember what The King’s Speech first trailer was like?

  • Jeremy09

    I mean, I’m still gonna see it obviously, but I just thought the trailer was aight. Felt kinda like one of those TV dramas you see in school, Lincoln saving all the black folk. And of course the Academy will think voting for this is doing us a favor.

  • Yayjesus

    Yawn. The only reason I’m interested in this is DDL.

  • Kevin Klawitter

    Oh, we’ve got some EDGY commentators here!

  • lily

    my biggest issue is how un-subtle this is. i don’t think this important history stuff (which we all KNOW the importance of) needs to be over-emphasized. that’s my fear

  • emperor has no clothes

    You guys havent got the memo, it’s not cool to like films anymore unless they are directed by Quentin Tarantino or Paul Thomas Anderson.

  • Bryce Forestieri

    I’m calling it now. THERE IS NO WAY ARGO OR THE MASTER BEAT THIS. I MEAN, HELLO?!?! Just one of the observations I made: From what I’ve read about Lincoln’s voice, DDL has pretty much nailed it. How that will play with most people, who knows. His Best Actor win will depend in great part on that alone. Best Picture win is a Lock now. Hell might all well, with every crazy proclaiming the winners and the no-way-could-ever-wins in this site. There’s only one thing worse than a Nolan fanboy and that is a PT Anderson fanboy. Wait there is the Nolan/Anderson fanboy…I am a great admirer of PT Anderson, but I don’t revere the ground he walks on.

  • Bryce Forestieri

    It’s Spielberg, you can summarize the snarky rants with “Not into Spielberg” LOL We all know what we’re getting into here…

  • Evan

    Amistad. ‘Nuff said.

  • Alexander

    “Oh, we’ve got some EDGY commentators here!”

    Oh, indeed, Kevin!

    I will say that the trailer feels somewhat utilitarian, as most trailers do. It displays just enough of Day-Lewis, Field and Jones to whet our appetites while ostensibly striving to give a general impression (and, based on how short the trailer is versus how long the film is likely to be, a *very* general impression) of the tone Spielberg is aiming to strike.

    Perhaps a more toned down, less expansive trailer would have been a better fit but this is obviously a marketing decision above all else and obviously not my call, ha.

  • Joey

    Oscar voter circle jerk.

  • Bryce Forestieri

    Shall we stop this bleeding?

  • Ryan Adams

    “Shall we stop this bleeding?”

    Funnily enough, same thing John McCain said to Sarah Palin.

    (Correction. McCain’s exact words to Palin: “Shall we stop this bleating?”
    And he forgot to say that out loud.)

  • steve50

    ““Ummm…That Lincoln trailer was….ummmm…War Horsey”

    and I think I stepped in some, too.

    Still not convinced by the film and that awful reverential epic-ness, but DDL looks and sounds good.

  • Mohammed

    Unless you are a Spielberg die-hard this is very, very underwhelming. Come november I predict this movie will be accused of being overtly-manipulative with the heavy Newton score. And what is it with the FADE TO BLACK cr** ? Perhaps Ebert knew something we don’t . The only movie I can see realy competing with Argo now is Les Miserables.

  • Jeremy09

    This might be the first time I’ve ever been accused of being an edgy Spielberg hater.

    That’s kinda funny if it wasn’t so…weird.

  • Matt

    DDL looks amazing. Too bad the trailer lays on the schmultz. I’d gladly be proven wrong come opening night.

  • This is pretty much exactly what I expected it to be like. There’s something boring about that.

  • MJ

    From how Spielberg was talking about this during the hangout, the music & the moments emphasized in this trailer seem out of step with the tone of the movie. The music is just plain out of step with the tone of what’s being discussed. But I feel like if you take that out it doesn’t feel schmaltzy at all. Working on a project that he’s been so passionate about for so long in an effort to counteract the mythmaking of Lincoln, with the screenwriter that adapted Munich for him (his most even-handed & morally complex film), I have faith that the issues are more in the hands of the marketing than with him.

    I’m thinking they wanted to highlight the ensemble in addition to keeping plenty of DDL’s performance under wraps. But I also think that’s part of what’s getting people to write him off here. A lot of people only know the latter day DDL who’s very theatrical and loud, I’ve been hoping given Lincoln’s nature as reflective & quietly charismatic that we’d get a return of the subtle Day-Lewis of the early part of his career.

    And the achievement he’s pulled off with the voice should not be taken lightly, it’s not just that he manages the slight drawl or to slightly up-pitch his voice, if you just heard that audio no one would be able to tell that it’s Day-Lewis speaking. He’s been chameleonic before, but this could be something I can’t say I’ve seen anyone pull off.

  • Jason

    I can’t believe there are people here who are almost dismissing the film based of the first trailer.

  • g

    How many movies is Joseph Gordon Levitt in? He is in everything!

    Anyhow this looks great and I am sure it will be better than Warhorsey!

  • Tero Heikkinen

    About the high-pitch voice. This is closer to his own, because DDL has a pretty high voice (look at the last Oscar speech, for example). It was D. Plainview and B. The Butcher that were somewhat “lowered” voices. But I’m sure he nails the accent again, but these can be tricky for someone not speaking English as language #1.

  • rufussondheim

    “My first impulse would be to free all the slaves, and send them to Liberia, to their own native land. But a moment’s reflection would convince me, that whatever of high hope (as I think there is) there may be in this, in the long run, its sudden execution is impossible.” – Abraham Lincoln.

    Why am I not surprised this quote didn’t make the trailer?

    I am not trying to bash Lincoln here. He certainly was progressive for his day and I don’t want to judge him upon today’s political correctness. But my fear is that Spielberg will completely whitewash what the prevailing thought was at the time.

    You see, there are shades of racism. And while we certainly would call Lincoln’s above quote racist, it wasn’t seen that way back then (I don’t even think racism as a concept was named at that point).

    What I would love from someone who is an avowed liberal like Spielberg is an honest portrayal of racial attitudes from that time. If done properly and well, it would be an excellent springboard into discussing racial attitudes in contemporary society. Racism is alive and well in the contemporary US even though the vast majority of us would swear we weren’t racist. But the truth is we are, almost every single one of us.

    But I don’t think Spielberg is up to that, Kushner would be, so I have some hope still. But Spielberg is the director. And I see no evidence of him addressing this topic in any real way in the trailer.

    It’s a shame.

  • Kevin Klawitter

    Well, as long as we’re here and projecting our preconceptions based on a 2 and a half minute trailer, I guess I’d like to shamelessly plug the “Lincoln on Screen” review series I’m doing on Youtube right now, where I review different film and television portrayals of Honest Abe through the years:

  • Tye-Grr

    Is it just me, or does Joseph Gordon-Levitt look strikingly similar to Heath Ledger in ‘The Imaginarium Of Dr. Parnassus’?

    Anyway, trailer has my interest piqued (though not much more than it was already), and DDL looks terrific. I’m a Spielberg fan, though I recognize when his work isn’t exactly top tier, so I’m still very much looking forward to this. I hope it’s good.

  • win

    People, have you really watched trailer? just give 14 Oscars to this trailer!!

  • mecid

    Hey, when you see war scenes you call it War Horse. There was a great war on that days. What do you want to see in trailer? Planes, tanks or atomic bomb?

    And which film”s first triler is better than this?

  • Unlikely hood

    Bryce – where did you do this reading? Can you tell us the book, cause i want to read it too. I agree (w MJ) that his voice is really key, and i have no doubt DDL worked to get it right – but based on what?

    Rufussondheim – oh ye of little faith. I suspect lincoln’s racial attitudes will absolutely be in the film, just as they were in the book. Of course its not in the trailer! Hollywood doesnt do hagiography like it did in john ford’s heyday; they suspect we need warts-and-all just to pay attention. If thats your biggest concern youre gonna love this film.

  • emperor has no clothes

    It saddens me how Spielberg is disrespected by the newer film viewing generations. An incredible film like War Horse comes out last year and all people do on the internet is trash it. Now they are planning to do the same to Lincoln. For some reason it’s just not ‘cool’ to like his work, it’s like they ignore all the incredible masterful filmmaking on display and only focus on one little aspect to discredit it. I think Anderson and Tarantino fans are going to make this oscar season miserable.

  • rufussondheim

    No, that’s not my biggest concern. My biggest concern is that it’s going to be a manipulative pile of shit. But that’s old news. You just don’t know me well.

  • mecid


    I think you are right. Some of this fanboys even criticize the film from its poster 🙂

  • Bryce Forestieri

    This movie might be the movie of the Decade that defines a generation. I’m putting it down to crack the top 100 in the 2022 Sight&Sound poll. I knew Spielberg still had seminal work within him. I Watched the trailer for the 34th time and every time makes me think of Kubrick, Kurosawa, Ford and even some Sam Peckinpah. I think Spielberg might have just changed the medium’s form. Who’d have thought I’d live to see another 2001. This is some subversive grandiose shit…Did ya’ll hear what senile Godard said about Lincoln’s trailer? Let’s just say he’s reassessing his views on Spielberg!

  • mecid

    ^^^ Are you about Jean Luc Godard? What he said? it is so interesting for me.

  • manrico1967

    Looks awfully preachy.

  • Aaron B

    I remember saying the exact same thing about the trailer for “Hugo” last year: These trailers are not made for US. Our tickets are, for the most part, sold. This is to sell tickets to the general population who WANT to see a flag waving film about the most popular president ever.

    Also, Rufuss, from what I understand your quote was a bit misleading as well. Now I’ve only read a small amount on the subject (and am only now making my way through Burns’ Civil War documentary) but as I understand it the main reason Lincoln felt that way is because he was terrified of a race war. He was unsure of, even given their freedom, how well African Americans would integrate into society. And while I don’t agree with this ‘solution’ he certainly wasn’t wrong about that fear, as we’ve seen how much fighting still had to be done for equality.

    Anyway, I digress. Spielberg said all the right things in the google hangout thing, so I’m still optimistic that this won’t paint Lincoln as a perfect man. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it will touch on that idea in particular, but it still gives me hope. At the very least it will be another beautiful looking film.

  • Jake

    I’d say that the trailer does recall “War Horse,” but I think the difference will lie in the different screenwriters. I trust Tony Kushner to be more artful and subdued in the application of schmaltz, especially when compared to Richard Curtis.

    In any case, I think DDL wins a third Oscar for this. Seems unavoidable. Picture, maybe not. Perhaps this will be a “spread the love” year? Argo for picture, DDL for actor, and PTA for director? HIGHLY doubt it, but a man can always dream in spite of the Academy.

  • Jake

    And Lawrence for Actress in “Silver Linings”! But that would be all too neat for the Academy, especially with the return of Tom Hooper (although I’m pulling for “Les Miz” to prove he deserved his Oscar because “King’s Speech” certainly didn’t do it.)

  • MoviePooch

    Tony Kushner has said his Lincoln screenplay may be “the best thing I’ve ever written.” Considering he’s the guy who wrote “Angels in America”… that’s saying something.

  • Jerm

    The fact that everyone rights this off based on a trailer is so ridiculous and sad. I think it looks GREAT! I’m pumped for this Oscar season, because of so many great and worthy films, unlike last year. I think if Les Mis is a home run I think Hugh Jackman will give DDL a run for his money, for sure.

  • Jerm


  • Mattoc

    DDL sounds a bit like Herbert in Family Guy, minus the whistle.

    The trailer looks about how I expected. Not a good egg, not a bad egg, just an egg.

  • Dan

    After watching the trailer the Oscars will go like this:
    Best Pic: Les Miz
    Director:Les Miz

  • k-a

    very sentimental, very tongue in cheek, as someone said – War Horse: Civil War edition. and that voice…

  • The Pope

    I strongly doubt the Academy will give Hooper a second Oscar and certainly not so soon. You have to be in the David Lean/Francis Ford Coppola/Steven Spielberg category for that. And great as Hooper is, he ain’t in that bracket. Unless of course the film is blindingly, breathtakingly brilliant.

    It could be a year of split: picture/director/actor/actress all for different films. Has that ever happened?

  • Unlikely hood

    Rufus – what an oddly combative, un-self-aware thing to say, since I’ve been here as many years as you and I do know you well enough to know I gave you what you like – a response. My phrasing didn’t imply what you said it did. Anyway the shawshank-cast away music on the trailer should cue you – lincoln’s “complexity” (read: 19th century biases) will be baked in, all the more for his redemption later. But oh yes it will be manipulative, less war horsey and more “I could have saved more…with this watch…”

  • Alexander

    “My first impulse would be to free all the slaves, and send them to Liberia, to their own native land. But a moment’s reflection would convince me, that whatever of high hope (as I think there is) there may be in this, in the long run, its sudden execution is impossible.” – Abraham Lincoln.

    Why am I not surprised this quote didn’t make the trailer?

    I am not trying to bash Lincoln here. He certainly was progressive for his day and I don’t want to judge him upon today’s political correctness. But my fear is that Spielberg will completely whitewash what the prevailing thought was at the time.

    You see, there are shades of racism. And while we certainly would call Lincoln’s above quote racist, it wasn’t seen that way back then (I don’t even think racism as a concept was named at that point).

    What I would love from someone who is an avowed liberal like Spielberg is an honest portrayal of racial attitudes from that time. If done properly and well, it would be an excellent springboard into discussing racial attitudes in contemporary society. Racism is alive and well in the contemporary US even though the vast majority of us would swear we weren’t racist. But the truth is we are, almost every single one of us.

    But I don’t think Spielberg is up to that, Kushner would be, so I have some hope still. But Spielberg is the director. And I see no evidence of him addressing this topic in any real way in the trailer.

    It’s a shame.”

    Why would anyone expect that quote of Lincoln’s to be in the trailer to this film? The people who cut this trailer together only have two minutes and twenty seconds to try to sell the film to the public. Having that quote appear in the trailer would have opened up a can of worms necessitating too much time devoted to analyzing Lincoln’s personal and political trajectory on the matter of slavery, when in reality the trailer has been cut in an effort to maximize people’s curiosity and interest and see the actors and listen to some of the dialogue from Kushner spoken by those actors (especially Day-Lewis, Field and Jones, the three top “stars” of Lincoln).

    Moreover, a very reasonable explanation for that quote not appearing is that it is from a speech Lincoln gave in 1854, in Peoria, Illinois. Spielberg’s film covers the final months of his life, particularly the winter and early spring of 1865 leading up to his assassination.

    At the same time, I think it’s completely unmistakable that the trailer is openly depicting the very progression of Lincoln’s perspective on the matter, stemming from the episode with the black soldier which apparently takes place early on in the film. The Emancipation Proclamation was something of a joke, and as the trailer strongly indicates, the film depicts the political and moral reasoning and navigating to create something at least worthwhile and just for slaves out of the hellish pit that was this most ruinous of wars.

    In other words, the film is, apparently, dramatizing the strong shift in Lincoln from almost using the slavery issue in a fairly cynical manner, and seeing it as a nuisance having little to do with the fate of “the Union” to endeavoring, in almost singleminded furor, to use the furnace of the war to at least do something righteous for the country and to begin a new chapter in the American Constitution to that date. This was, to be sure, furiously controversial and split Lincoln’s own cabinet into different camps while Radical Republican leaders like Thaddeus Stevens and various political interests–hardly all of them virtuous and altruistic–all came together to put the 13th Amendment together. That is the tale this film is telling, and the writer of the book on which it’s based, the screen writer and fellow cast members like Tommy Lee Jones and Joseph Gordon-Levitt all insist that the film depicts a very dynamic, very flawed and most crucially very human Abraham Lincoln at the center of it all.

    So, really, the film is, at its heart, I imagine, thankfully not just another tired depiction of racism to draw lazy comparisons to this day, but rather the unusual story of a country practically devoured by the abyss of catastrophic bloodletting and the way in which Lincoln’s personal orbit (it’s Spielberg so the distant relationship between Lincoln and Robert Todd will doubtless be covered) influences his political one and vice versa, the kind of thorough analysis of decisions made by a leader that is so rare in any art form.

  • Tero Heikkinen

    “It could be a year of split: picture/director/actor/actress all for different films. Has that ever happened?”

    Quite a few times, last time was:

    BP: Crash
    BD: Ang Lee / Brokeback Mountain
    BA: Philip Seymour Hoffman / Capote
    BA: Reese Witherspoon / Walk the Line

  • Unlikely hood

    The pope – sure. Last time was 7 years ago. Crash, Brokeback, Hoffman, Witherspoon

  • Unlikely hood

    Tero – nice. I’m never gonna hear from Bryce about where he read about Lincoln’s voice am I?

  • Tero Heikkinen

    Oh, I seemed to have lied. It’s not common at all, I checked all the years back to 50’s and stopped there. Even Crash’s year was not supposed to go like that, right? So, yeah, for four different films would be very rare.

  • Niles

    I guarantee you people were hating on Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan back in the day and they ended up being one of the greatest films by Steven Spielberg and those same critics then all of sudden loved them. This will be his next great film because I think Spielberg has been long over due. Ever since Munich became one of his first best picture oscar nominations in the 21st Century by Speilberg, he has also brought us along with War Horse. Haven’t you guys heard of the saying “Third time is a charm” (literally). My sister doesn’t wanna see War Horse because she think it’s about a guy and horse falling in love with each other. I told her theres more than that you must watch the movie to get the overall flow of the story and film. She still won’t watch it. I hate criticism but it is part of the art. Anyways, going off subject; Daniel Day Lewis next Oscar is coming this February. I believe Tommy Lee Jones will be superb along with Sally Field. Plus you can’t judge a film by its trailer. Everything that Spielberg makes turns head and into gold (literally) anyways so all of you complaining, the “boo hoo weepie I don’t care’s”? Quit your bitching and just pay 10 bucks and watch it; then criticized.

  • Someone

    It looks like the preview of the worst Spielberg movie ever. I know that it doesn’t look possible for him to do something worse than “War Horse” (God, that was awful) or the last “Indiana Jones” (the same!) but “Lincoln”… looks worse. Boring biopic without anything outstanding (even Day-Lewis doesn’t look spectacular here).

  • mecid

    ^^^^ Where have yoou watched it my friend. Is it on theaters? I thought it will premiere on 9 Nowembwer 🙂

  • Glenn UK

    Bring on the Spielberg haters! Oy are they pathetic or what?! I’m a Brit …. it gave me goosebumps. It’s going to be huge. Picture, Director, DDL, TLJ and Field are guarantees as well as a whole host of technicals – this will be the the film with most nominations come January along with Les Miz. This awards season is beginning to step up – I love this time of year!!!!!

  • Jason B

    Looks pretty dull to me. I’m hoping there’s more flair to Tony Kushner’s screenplay than this suggests. I’m not even certain what the conflict is, excluding the obvious. I hope it is something beyond a visual history book set to John Williams score.

    There’s a lot to explore about Lincoln, including his lies to the south about not ending slavery (unless we assume Lincoln did not intend to immediately free the slaves). He essentially had to lie as a politician in order to do good; he also had to grow the power of the executive branch to achieve much of it, as well. Both of those would be interesting points of exploration. Hopefully it’s not just a puff piece.

  • tipsy

    Sh*tty generic Oscar bait trailer that promises exactly the same movie. Something else will win. Good. Very good. Excellent.

  • Tero Heikkinen

    I will never understand the hate for War Horse. It did exactly what it was set out to do. I have the book.

  • Bryce Forestieri

    So I’m thinking three(3) acting nominations are locks now too: BEST ACTOR, BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR, BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS.

    Add Best Pic, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Score, Best Editing, Best Custom Design, Best Production Design, Best Make-up. I mean, who knows about the sound guys, but assuming this wont be a player in those. THAT IS 12 LOCKED NOMINATIONS AS OF NOW?!?!

  • steve50

    “I can’t believe there are people here who are almost dismissing the film based of the first trailer.”

    This time, that accusation is wrong. We’ve seen enough Spielberg movies to know what to expect, and this trailer is right in line with the rest. He never stretches with regards to style. The dismissal is more “been there, done that,” than anything else.

  • rufussondheim

    why do the Spielberg lovers worry about us Spielberg truthers so much? Because we know the truth? The truth hurts.

  • mecid

    ^^ Another art-house crap fan. Hey, you are truther? you became truther by judging films from its posters, teasers or trailers? come on. you are just anti-Spielberg or fan of other contender films. It is interesting how old are you. You speak like if you have EBERT EXPERIENCE.

  • rufussondheim

    My experience comes from watching Spielberg films. I hate them. Even the ones everyone likes. I find him simple and manipulative. I see through his technique in every scene. He’s so obvious in his choices, I find him to be quite boring. Even the films of his I once loved, I now dislike when I see them because he uses the same techniques and shots in every film. Plus he’s a terrible storyteller in that he doesn’t create fully dimensional characters. He’s easily the worst “major” director working today, in my opinion. I can’t for the life of me understand why any film fan could enjoy his works. Yes, I think he’s that terrible.

  • Nik Grape

    Being surprised by a Spielberg trailer is akin to being surprised by your grandfather’s Christmas gift. You know it’s going to be some kind of sweater, and you predict its shade of Arcadian mahogany – looking ostensibly worn and inoffensively neutral.

    Those kinds of gifts can float a lot of people’s boats. But not this raft. I’ll be seeing this for two reasons and two reasons only. Daniel Day Lewis, the closest an actor can get to being a chameleon, and Kaminski’s photography which can be nothing short of breathtaking even when you’re suffocating from the saturated fat you hear in the dialogue and score (Hello, War Horse).

    The Oscar potentials for this swan song of a history lesson are sky-high, and if it makes good bank you know a potential sweep is not out of the question, thought-probing art be damned.

  • MJ

    Seriously people, have you never seen a case where the marketing team cuts together a trailer in a certain way to reach for the widest audience even if it’s not indicative of the film itself? (Silver Linings Playbook comes to mind, & I was playing that card before it was ever screened) What you have is a case of confirmation bias, you think Spielberg only does one thing & look only at the ‘evidence’ that he’s sticking to it.

    Tony fucking Kushner wrote this screenplay, he does not do overt-sentiment or one dimensional hagiography, & he called this probably the best thing he’s ever written (this is the man who created Angels in America for goodness’ sake) & I’m willing to bet the complexities of the portrayals are being lost in the bombastic horn music & the select moments revealed here.

    Besides, Spielberg doesn’t bring his sentimental side to his adult-oriented pictures often (with the exception of the endings of Saving Private Ryan & Minority Report) & he hasn’t done one since Munich, that was exactly the opposite of what everyone expected. They went in saying “Spielberg’s Jewish, he’ll take this material and make a ra-ra-Israel film”, & they were dumbfounded when he delivered an even-handed meditation on the vicious cycle of violence & retaliation leaving people with nothing but the continuing violence. It’s his darkest & most morally ambiguous film yet, & being the most recent adult-oriented film he’s done & done with the same screenwriter as this should give you more of an indication about this film than its grab-for-the-biggest-possible-audience trailer.

    Have an open mind for once. We have a cinephile culture that waits to laud projects from people like Paul Thomas Anderson & revile projects from people like Spielberg before ever even seeing them, neither attitude helps you to form your own opinion.

  • tipsy


    As much as anything can be locked from a trailer.

    As someone already said, this looks all noms and no wins. I agree. Been there, done that.

    “why do the Spielberg lovers worry about us Spielberg truthers so much? Because we know the truth? The truth hurts.”

    Can`t believe there was such pre-trailer hype for this. Everyone and their mother should have known the trailer and movie would be exactly this. Amistad was. War Horse was. Lincoln = Amistad Horse.

  • mecid

    @ rufussondheim

    And you hate the man who inspired your directors to become filmmakers? Listen my friend, you are going nowhere with that hate. you will become Nowhere Man as John Lennon said. Hate or not but its Spielberg who returned the Golden Age Holywood reputation to the world, defined the adventure, sci-fi and other genres. Do you know another director who is professional in all genres (adventure, sci-fi, dram) as him. Just be just.

  • Unlikely hood

    None of the haters have read the book; if they had, they would know it’s not the film they’re saying it is.

  • Unlikely hood

    Random: I loved that Lane (from Mad Men) was briefly in the trailer and I didn’t immediately think “Lane!”

  • steve50

    “why do the Spielberg lovers worry about us Spielberg truthers so much?”

    Exactly! We have no effect on the millions he makes with each film. We can’t impede his career with the severity his fan boys inflict on “arthouse” directors. We can’t even escape watching these things – in two weeks, they’ll be everywhere.

    “None of the haters have read the book; if they had, they would know it’s not the film they’re saying it is.”

    I read The Color Purple & War Horse, then saw the movies, so, I’ll bet it IS the film we’re guessing it is. Another case of “pull my finger.”

  • Bryce Forestieri

    So one can’t be a Paul Thomas Anderson and a Steven Spielberg fan at once? That is limited. All movies manipulate us. So really PT Anderson and Aronofsky are not manipulators? If you don’t like the the man’s style then be clear about it and say why, but stop spewing stupidity

    “When we experience a film, we consciously prime ourselves for illusion. Putting aside will and intellect, we make way for it in our imagination. The sequence of pictures plays directly on our feelings. Music works in the same fashion; I would say that there is no art form that has so much in common with film as music. Both affect our emotions directly, not via the intellect” –Bergman

  • steve50

    Of course, one can be a fan of both. With one, you know what you’re getting and the other surprises. Both do what they do extremely well, but I can’t pretend that I get as excited for a Spielberg film as I do for a PTA film – the Xmas analogy above describes it perfectly.

    Bergman has it right – film is like music. I like most genres, but I’m not about to put Mahler on the same level as Flo-rida. Listening to the former, you hear something new every time; with the latter, once does it and then it’s good for driving in the car.

  • tipsy

    Since when it`s a crime to lampoon Oscar bait trailers that check every checkbox of Oscar wank trailer-making? This trailer is it. And if experience with Spielberg`s other movies that had the same type of trailer is any clue (War Horse, Amistad), Lincoln will offer no surrpises no matter what the book it`s based on says.

  • Aaron B

    Amen, MJ. You would think that at some point people would stop being fooled by trailers. Just this year it has apparently happened with “Silver Linings Playbook,” “Ruby Sparks,” “Hope Springs,” “Magic Mike” and that’s just off the top of my head.
    If you see a trailer and it gets you excited for a movie, that’s great. But to essentially make up your mind about the movie because of it is beyond stupid. Trailers’ like this only goal are to have the broadest appeal possible so I’m not sure what was expected.

  • steve50

    Sasha – contest suggestion: “what do you think the last scene in Speilberg’s Lincoln will look like?”

    I’ll answer early: Shot of the casket that pulls back to reveal the funeral train heading for Springfield, Il. The tracks are lined with emancipated blacks and union soldiers with slings and crutches (and a few confederates thrown in). There’s a back-lit American flag, tattered but whole, that emerges and takes over the entire screen as the music swells (heavy on the pipes). Likely an AL voiceover in the background.

    Anybody else?

  • mecid


    Paul Thomas Anderson quote:

    “I watch [Steven Spielberg] movies, and know: Those are fairy tales. I understand what he does. And I make a film on cancer and frogs – however I want that many spectators nevertheless! I find that is a good goal, and I consider it a weakness of mine that I haven’t reached it yet”

  • mecid

    One guy posted this on forum.

    “I think it is more a matter of many here wanting Phoenix to be the front-runner and so starting the DDL pile on for no reason other than that. That is what sucks about awards season. It becomes these silly games when people downplay talented actors based on nothing more than wanting someone else to win a trophy. Then often (as with last year), while people ridiculing each other’s front runner, it becomes some other person that wins. Watch it be John Hawkes who wins and watch him become AD Public Enemy # 1 for awhile. It could be worse. It could be the reactions given to the competition between actresses.”

  • unlikely hood

    Well Steve50 If you’re saying that based on other SS films, there’s going to be treacly sentiment – yes, there will.

    But you said “reverential epic-ness” and that’s not the tone of the book – it’s much scruffier than that. Those of us who know Kushner and the book are figuring that this trailer is for the plebes, but the film will probably be more complex (if not breaking ground in terms of style; you expect any director’s 20th film to do that?).

    Here’s the best example of what I’m talking about (and I’m glad you mentioned Mahler):

    – the trailer for Glory. Sure, it’s all epic-y and grandiose. But the film itself is very hands-dirty, complex, warts-and-all – don’t you think so? So don’t be surprised when Spielberg pulls off something similiar

    The last scene could easily be just dialogue between a couple of principals.

  • just

    Burn, haters, burn!!!!!!!!! You filled something? Of course. Lincoln is gonna still the show!!!

  • kjbacon


    It’ll end with him leaving for the theater with his wife.

  • Nik Grape


    What are you trying to prove with that P.T.Anderson quote? Every director wants their movies to be seen by as many people as possible, this is a given. The point is that not everyone is going have their heart sunk by a formulaic fairytale they’ve heard told before, in a slightly difference voice.

    And I don’t see P.T.Anderson trying to “invite” as many spectators as possible to see his films, in fact, he’s making more obscure films as he goes along. Give me cancer and frogs over a sermon on justice any day.


    Your version sounds like the truth of it. Spielberg might pull a Schindler and have the last scene take place in today’s world on Memorial Day as a class of racially mixed students are being lectured underneath Abe Lincoln’s statue on the importance of liberty and justice for all. Cue sniffles. Horns. Fade out.

  • Tero Heikkinen

    Could be. IMDb doesn’t list John Wilkes Booth at all. And you don’t need to show the shooting, we all know it happens.

  • MJ

    Really? You always know what you’re going to get with Spielberg? You’re categorizing him by hallmarks of his lesser works/those primed for family audiences. All his films that are classics from the 70’s through 90’s all brought new things to the table in their content, aim, storytelling & genre. The same is true with latter works like AI, Minority Report & Munich. And when he pulls off a passion project, as this is to him, it’s always been something to behold. Projects like Close Encounters, ET, Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan & Munich. You should be willing to give the benefit of the doubt to another such project that such careful preparation went into.

  • mecid

    @ Nik Grape

    Rufus said he hates all Spielberg movies and loves modern directors as i UNDERSTAND. And I say most of modern filmmkers are inspired by Spielberg, Koppola, Scorsese and so on. So if you accept moderns how can you not accept classics. Moderns use classics” styles.

  • amazed

    Actually my most anticipated trailer ever was The Avengers. When it came out I could watch it 2 or 3 times, no more. But I watched this nearly 50 times with great great pleasure!!!!

  • steve50

    @unlikely hood – I have great hopes for Kushner’s script. He’s a great writer who looks issues straight in the face, so that’s a saving grace. I just hope he’s had enough pull with the director. Alice Walker is a tough as nails writer, too, but got “Hallmark”ed in the end.

  • mecid

    @ MJ

    People criticized Spielberg for A.I , Minoriy Report, Catch Me if You Can, Munich in 2000s and said he has lost his talent . But as time passed these movies are among decaed”s best films. On those day only Ebert knew what he is doing and chose Minority Report as best of 2002. ANd now those conversations begin again. Spielberg lost his talent …. lol…lol…nonsense

  • Jake G!!!

    War Horse was an epic drama that feels like it should have came out in the olden days, and it makes me mad that people of this generation dont appreciate it! Lincoln looks to be following the same path of War Horse, and if it is anywhere near as good as War Horse, I’ll be happy. With the weak Best Actress year, I could see Sally Field making an impact in that category.

  • Fivus Viener


  • MoviePooch

    @steve50 Your comparison of Tony Kushner and Alice Walker really doesn’t make much sense. Tony Kushner actually wrote the screenplay for Lincoln, based on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s novel. On the other hand, Menno Meyjes adapted Alice Walker’s book into the screenplay for The Color Purple. Two completely different scenarios.

  • Alexander

    War Horse was aimed at families and consciously so, but auteurs like Ford, Hawks and Boetticher made films that were indisputably meant to draw in mainstream family audiences.

    War Horse was proof that a film inspired by classic Hollywood–Ford, Fleming, et. al.–and bravely featuring painful emotions about home and harth while depicting warfare as barbaric, inhuman and horrible, bridging the gap of intellectual and pathos, is actually quite the “edgy” undertaking in today’s climate, regardless of any flaws or problems it may have posed to some viewers. Meanwhile, the John Williams score was consciously recalling the scores of that era, with it shifting on a dime from dramatic to comedic (that goose, etceteras).

    As for Lincoln, it’s ironic to me that because Kushner is such a fiery progressive, he almost puts Lincoln on a pedestal in the cause of such “revolutionary” rhetoric and deeds toward the end of his life, while it’s Spielberg who is the one frequently discussing how the film is meant to depict the many different sides to and shades of the man himself.

  • VVS

    this characterization is surprisingly much closer to Daniel Day Lewis than Daniel Plainview was.

    You hear Daniel Day Lewis in the voice, and see his facial mannerisms. I guess my expectations for his performance were through the roof. Not saying that he won’t be excellent.

    But I saw The Master last night, and in no way is he topping what Joaquin Phoenix did in that film.

    It was like Brando x Heath Ledger in Dark Knight

  • unlikely hood

    steve50 – It’s hardly fair to call Color Purple “hallmarked”. (There was no Hallmark channel then!) Nothing was compromised about the wife-beating Alfred (Danny Glover). After the nightmares of the first hour, sure, there were some sentimental moments and magic-hour prettiness. But here’s you Monday-morning QBing the first-ever major-budget movie adaptation of ANY African-American-written novel (uh, unless you count Roots) – even if SS wasn’t a white Jew, the pressure to sanitize had to be unbelievable.

    And War Horse was a kid’s book anyway. One doesn’t accuse Scorsese of dumbing down Hugo.

    The most apt comparison is Amistad; same century, same backgrounds, same themes, same whites-blacks proportion in the cast. Sure, the “give us free” scene was a little wince-worthy. But that film holds up. It’s not all broad strokes as Stanley Kramer would have done it, but surprising attention to detail and nuance – including in the character work. And Lincoln is a better story. I’m still thinking this *could* be the best film of the year.

  • MooviePooch

    I think it’s quite telling that Doris Kearns Goodwin herself has seen the finished film and referred to it as “extraordinary.” She even refers to the film’s inclusion of the “smutty stories” Lincoln used to tell. Listen to her comments here, (the Lincoln comments begin around the 3:20 mark):

  • keifer

    Remember Oliver Stone’s “Nixon” with Anthony Hopkins? Film kinda bombed, but Anthony Hopkins and Joan Allen received Oscar nods for their work in that bio film.

    I think “Lincoln” may have the same result: DDL for Best Actor and Sally Field for BSA. Maybe a few technical nods (Spielberg always gets those) thrown in for good measure.

    But I’m not hedging my bets on this one, as I am not sure it will “connect” with AMPAS voters given its OBVIOUS Oscar pandering (opening at Christmas).

  • unlikely hood

    But I’m not hedging my bets on this one, as I am not sure it will “connect” with AMPAS voters given its OBVIOUS Oscar pandering (opening at Christmas).

    Keifer – wrong in both directions. The film opens before Thanksgiving. They wanted to open before the election, but were afraid of negative publicity from right-wing media accusing them of putting a thumb on the scale for Obama.

  • jeremy09

    “Shall we stop

    this bleeding?”

    *please-nominate-me-Oscar-music cue*

  • steve50

    “Monday-morning QBing the first-ever major-budget movie adaptation of ANY African-American-written novel”

    No, that’s not where I’m coming from, at all. Budgets, first-evers aside, I was reacting to the filmed version of one on my favorite novels, which was a massive letdown.

    @moviepooch – you’re correct, I shouldn’t compare Kushner to Walker as they played different roles in their respective finished products. Thanks for the link – Goodwin’s comments make me hope that all my worries are for naught.

  • JP

    3 default things at Awards Daily comments:

    1) Movies are based on its trailers (Hugo… this year, Lincoln is, at least, the third, after Zero Dark Thirty and Silver Linings Playbook).

    2) A movie is loved until it becomes the frontrunner (TKS, The Artist, Slumdog Millionare).

    3) Most of the movies in contention are manipulatives.

  • Yayjesus

    “Shall we stop

    this bleeding?”

    *please-nominate-me-Oscar-music cue*

    Hahahaha!! Exactly my thoughts. It reminded me of this:

  • JP

    You can say (not say… speculate) anything about this film. But at least two things you can be certain: it’s not The Iron Lady or J. Edgar for one reason: those two films made a fatal mistake: they chose to handle a large period of their main character’s life. Take J. Edgar and Milk, that were written by the same person: one is a lesson of how to make a biopic. The other of how NOT to make a biopic. Biopic that handle large periods of time are most certainly flat. Thankfully this is not a problem with Lincoln. It could not be a good film for any other reasons but not this one. It’s much more similar to The King Speech.

  • Morgan

    Trying way too hard to be an epic drama. Looks as awful as War Horse.

    I love Daniel Day Lewis though, so I’m hoping he’s good in it.

  • Sebastian

    No se me antoja nada. Para mi, un extranjero, se me hace demasiado “Spilberg”, muy sentimental y grandilocuente, y la verdad muy “gringa”. En serio me asqueo desde los primeros segundos. No se si sea el unico que piensa así, espero que no.

  • Niles

    I don’t understand why everyone hates War Horse so much. It’s not just about a guy and a horse, it’s about what war does to two souls whether it’s animal or human being and how they overcome turmoil. Don’t you get it that the movies major theme is fait? What if any of you who were in a war and you never saw you friends or family again? How would you feel about that? It’s scary. The same sort goes here for Lincoln; that’s the civil war talking. So I don’t think any of theses movies suck, I mean if they suck then you might as well say Spielberg’s other movies suck as well. I don’t care what anyone says, Spielberg is a great director he is known for making great films and will probably never see anyone like him for a long time. So appreciate and show some respect what you see and quit hating because more than likely you really don’t know how to properly analyze a film. So if you don’t know how to analyze then you need to stay silent.

  • rufussondheim

    Si, Spielberg es malo. Sus peliculas son malos. El es stupido.

  • rufussondheim

    Yes, I don’t know how to properly analyze a film. That has been my problem my whole life. No wonder it is my fait to be miserable and filled with hate.

    Niles, what did you think of Steve McQueen’s Hunger? Just curious.

  • Joao Mattos

    Boy, I wished I could have the time to read all the comments. As a foreigner who since high school is an admirer of Mr, Licoln, this sounds juicy. I’m a bit Armond-White freak for Spielberg, despithe the fact of that unlike Armond, didn’t apreciate SS “serious movies” of the 90’s (specially “Schndler” and “Amistad” but also IMO “Ryan” is jut OK).

    I think he is a genius for his fantasy filmns, and in the adult way, for his 20o0’s work (above all, “Munich”), In fact, since “A.I.” the only bad movie he did was “War Horse”, and he did a series of f…… amazing works (yes, the last Indiana Jones, too).

    So, “Lincoln” looks great, but….. don’t know there is something a bit stylized, artificial in DDL scenes on the movie. Maybe we will have a great movie with a main pefomance not great – something that happens more often than we think.

    Ah, Tony Kushner is an awesome playwright and a gifted screenwriter. More reason to have coool expectations.

  • den

    Why people hate War Horse so much? For me it was the 2nd best film of the year after The Artist. it based on children”s book. what you expected? drug-addicted people, sex scenes or spaceships landing on battlefield? You are just blind. you say just my film is better than yours.

  • unlikely hood

    JP: good points

  • Name*

    rufussondheim first off if it sounds like that I am putting you down I am not, but I will call you out on something; the reason why your a Spielberg truther is because your so caught on to reality that you don’t know how to escape as a true movegoer. I am compromiser realist, which means I agree with truth but I’ve learned to admire things as well. I am sorry you don’t know how to appreciate films like what Spielberg has made over the years. I think he’s quiet the genius because not only did he love his day job but founded a way to money and to continue his artwork. I wonder why a lot of films over the years got burned was because of people like you who don’t give a damn about certain movies made. That disappoints and upsets me but thats why we have restoration in film as well. I’ve learned as a film fanatic over the years to appreciate and admire such work whether its good or bad. So you may think you know how to analyze films, but truth is you know nothing; there’s an opinion but theres no right or wrong answer to it. I am a human being and I won’t lie to you this trailer and the movie War Horse made me cry because it showed me that the human spirit and universe out there, whether you want to believe it or not; it is strong and it gave me an idea of what its it was like for that person or even that animal to go through such turmoil and catastrophe the same with E.T., Amistad, Munich and possibly Lincoln.

    I haven’t seen it, why was I suppose to? I didn’t know there was a club! I’ve heard about Steve McQueen, I haven’t seen any of his films yet, but I am willing to watch them all. Including Shame which I heard is raw and phenomenal. I am actually looking forward to next year when his Twelve Years a Slave comes out to theaters.

  • www

    especially the last scene is one of the strongest i have ever seen.

  • versus

    music is too sentimental? have you seen Les Miserables trailer?

  • steve50

    “I am sorry you don’t know how to appreciate films like what Spielberg”

    Not to point fingers at @name*(thanks for making your points easy for me) exclusively, but this is the thing about Spielberg fanboys that gets me. They love to wag a finger – usually the middle one – at those who dare challenge the one-note, blockbuster style of moviemaking that jams the cineplexes at the end of the year.

    They always counter with something similar to this, as well:
    – “I’ve learned as a film fanatic over the years to appreciate and admire such work whether its good or bad….. it is strong and it gave me an idea of what its it was like for that person or even that animal to go through such turmoil and catastrophe.”

    And yet, when pressed about moviegoing encounters with the wide range to other films that vividly portray the challenges of the human experience, such as what they thought about Hunger, they reply, “I haven’t seen it, why was I suppose to? I didn’t know there was a club! I’ve heard about Steve McQueen, I haven’t seen any of his films yet.”

    The “film fanatic” self-accreditation flies right out the window with a line like that, and the entire argument collapses.

    There’s nothing wrong with enjoying Spielberg’s films and there’s also nothing wrong with criticizing them in comparison to other artists’ work. Some people prefer Ford over Honda, bu don’t pretend you’ve drive both if you haven’t.

  • Scott (the other one)

    This looks like

    (a) an overblown, pseudo-serious, bombastic, self-important piece of middlebrow tripe fall of capital “A” Acting, or

    (b) a camp classic, the Mommie Dearest of historical biopics.

    I can’t decide which.

    Really, how can a person watch this trailer and not either vomit or laugh????

    Trailers are notoriously misleading (see, just for example, the trailer to Hope Springs), so maybe the film is great, but this trailer is just awful.

  • mecid

    It seems people waited for trailer with swords in their hands. After seeing ( or not seeing? ) trailer they began to cut off everything like blind in spite of their favourite contenders. Please, people, especially under 18, dont judge any film without watching it, dont shouw that you belong to Biberian Generation.

  • rufussondheim

    Thanks Steve50 for making many great points. I won’t bother remaking them. I’ll just counter with an example.

    I love the movie The Joy Luck Club. Just love it to death. It clearly is an outgrowth of Spielbergian filmmaking, with the swelling music and the manipulative scenes.

    But what makes Joy Luck Club great is that it takes all of that emotion from the simplistic scenes of suffering and packages it into something personal, heartfelt and sincere. The scenes of the mothers with the daughters are genuinely touching and when we get to the final scene on the docks I am bawling.

    Spielberg has never challenged himself in such a way. He gets so caught up in the suffering. Whether it be The Color Purple, Schindler’s List or Saving Private Ryan, all we do is see the characters suffer.

    There is a ton of suffering in the world (my family included) and I’m really not interested in the suffering. I’m interested in what comes from the suffering. What do we learn? What do we pass on? How does it affect those that come after us? These are far more interesting questions to me and when they get explored in film, I’m far more likely to find that film to be worthwhile no matter who the directo is.

    Now what makes Hunger such a valuable member of this club, is that it brutally and honestly depicts people choosing to suffer so that others may benefit. There are scenes in this film that are just as unflinching as anything in Schindler’s List but they are shown with a much better context. It explored what people were willingly enduring rather than what was thrust upon them. From a psychological standpoint that’s far more interesting and makes for a much more worthwhile film.

  • Unlikely hood

    Joy Luck Club is an outstanding film.

    I don’t want to get lumped with Spielberg lovers. Facebook wants me to “like” that he’s a legend and I won’t do that. Many of the points in that YouTube video “the Spielberg gaze” are quite right. His sensibility privileges a re-claiming of innocence which can often seem cloying. The ending of Ryan was such a thing – and hollywood’s mild discomfort with that bright ribbon wrapping up that otherwise strong package was no small reason that Shakespeare in Love won.

    His movies are so damn watchable that that’s almost a flaw – a more passionate filmmaker would turn out something more like soderbergh’s small films, just to challenge himself more than us.

    So I get the hesitation. I get the ambivalence. I disagree that the characters only suffer – I see the changes after the suffering. But fine, I understand the discomfort. Thing is, knowing this story (I read goodwin’s book twice), I know this can be something great in spielberg’s hands. Here’s hoping.

  • Tero Heikkinen

    I’m a VERY proud Spielberg lover, I’m also in love with PT Anderson, Haneke, Kaurismäki, Nolan, Lynch, Kurosawa, Malle, Coens, Malick etc… etc… But Spielberg is the reason why I got interested in the artform that we know as Cinema.

  • mecid

    @ Tero

    Most of them also got interested in Cinema via Spielberg but now won’t accept it.

  • steve50

    “Spielberg is the reason why I got interested in the artform that we know as Cinema.”

    No question that SS inspired an entire generation and continues to make top-shelf entertainment. He pretty much re-invented the Hollywood style film. Those of us who are older found inspiration in everyone from David Lean to John Ford or Orson Welles to (even) Ray Harryhausen. Inspiration does not need to justify its origins.

    In 1945, a guy named John W Schaum obtained the copyright for a series of books teaching the basics of piano playing, starting with “green” and ending with (9 books later), grey. Would be players progressed through the sequence then either quit playing altogether or left the nest in search of virtuosity on their own.

    If you overlay that metaphor to filmmaking, Spielberg wrote the 9th, or grey, book, which takes the basics just about as far as you can go with great success. The virtuoso does not stop there, however, and try and do more with light and sound than is laid out in the basic books.

    Most of us admire Spielberg for what he does, but some of us want something beyond the grey book.

  • mecid

    ^ I dont know you if you are art-house fan or not, I reccomend European or Asian art-house films. They are far beter than American.

  • It took me this long to watch it. All I was thinking was “did he sound like that?” Then I realized I’ve been thinking Lincoln sounded like the Lincoln from BILL & TED’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE. XD Anywho, it looks exactly like AMISTAD, which makes all the sense in the world. But as I’m not a history buff, I don’t think this will be my thing. Still could be best of the year though. Can’t wait til we know for sure.

  • Astarisborn

    When a trailer moves me, I know I will love the film.
    I cried.
    Because War Horse was ignored at the oscars, Lincoln will win the glory.

  • Niles

    So your saying Spielberg’s films are depressing? If there is too much suffering rufussondheim then what the hell do you call Hunger? By the way, doesn’t the suffering overcome the turmoil? You know happy endings? Doesn’t the same goes through Hunger? I like the Joy Luck Club; that was depressing but turn into happiness as well. So what are you really saying here? hahahahahaha. I don’t think you guys like people who are rich and succeed to fame like what Spielberg as done over 40 years. This is a guy who walked on the Universal set because he had the balls to make it happen. What are you guys doing? Writing blogs on film when in fact you should be writing your screenplay at the local Starbucks? I am getting emotional here and sounding obnoxious but its true! If you want to make it happen then get off this argument and make it happen! Your probably thinking “I can make a better movie than that!” You know what Paul Thomas Anderson said to his film teacher about Terminator 2? He said it “That was awesome movie, man!” And he’s a art house director. So please, were all fans of different types of films, who cares in the end we all have different opinions and were all not going to agree with one another, so whatever man; I’ll check out Hunger and Shame they seem like pretty good movies. I just don’t have time to watch movies 24/7 all day everyday so don’t put down Name* just because he hasn’t watched that many movies everyday like you guys have, so good for you that you’ve watch all those movies but it doesn’t mean anything it just means you watched a lot of movies and your lot more experience in analyzing movies.

  • Manuel

    Abraham Lincoln looks…I mean Daniel Day-Lewis is amazing here! But the movie seems a little bit on the boring side

  • rufussondheim

    Niles, I don’t think there is “too much suffering” in any film. I just don’t want the suffering to be the point. I want it to add up to something.

    The scenes of suffering in Schindler’s List are definitely among the best ever put to film. But for what purpose. Spielberg let’s it hang in the air, like it’s enough. He doesn’t do anything with it that’s interesting or new or informative. I couldn’t be bothered.

  • Tero Heikkinen

    ^I don’t know what you mean by interesting here, but the suffering/death scenes are not usual at all. None of them.

    Helen is afraid of Amon and gets beaten in the cellar, meanwhile we see two other events in intercuts – a secret wedding in the barracks and nazis partying.

    None of the guns work when they try to shoot the hinchmaker.

    All the killings in the town seen from uphill, a children’s song plays in the background. The red jacket girl can be seen later, because we don’t have to see all the deaths. Some are more symbolic.

    Piano playing while hundreds of people are getting killed. Mostly we see these in shadows. “Is this Bach?”. “Nein, Mozart”.

    A soldier tries to look away and drink his hot coffee while they shoot the “educated Jew”. Not all Nazis were bad, they did what they were ordered to do, and this can be seen many times in the film.

    The smart boy when questioning of “who stole the chicken”, the “twice as useless” one-armed man etc… etc…

    All these were “new” to me when I saw them. For what purpose? That history is not forgotten?

  • rufussondheim

    People will remember the Holocaust long after Schindler’s List is forgotten.

  • Tero Heikkinen

    That is true, but films like these are needed for each generation still. Some people just don’t care about history unless you can tell a story in 2-3 hours. They will never pick up a book.

  • rufussondheim

    Sorry, Tero, you deserve a more considered response than what I gave you previously.

    I agree that each scene is a mini-masterpiece and some of the ones you mention are imprinted in my memory years later. But what I am referring to here (perhaps I was too casual earlier) is that none of the scenes add up to something greater. As I’ve said before, these scenes when strung together fail to have a narrative flow, nor do they bring into focus greater themes and ideas when seen as a whole.

    When I see Schindler’s List I can pretty much turn my brain off because Spielberg doesn’t force me to think in any real way. It’s a completely unchallenging work. It’s effective, but I think ultimately it’s pretty empty.

    Especially when compared to McQueen’s Hunger. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not remotely comparing the two historical events. But when I watch Hunger each scene builds on the prior, there is a psychological narrative here and there is an incredible push and tug as to which side is in the wrong (I’d say ultimately both.) It’s provocative in ways Spielberg never remotely is.

    And look at the two main characters, Sands and Schindler. We understand what motivates Sands a great deal more than we’ll ever understand what motivates Schindler. Hunger is a tremendously ambitious film. It’s ambitious in ways Schindler’s List, I’m afraid, is not.

  • steve50

    While I find much to admire in both, I’ll have to side with rufus.

    Schindler’s List – beautifully composed and shot – always felt like a attempted panacea for that horrifying event, playing on feelings of collective guilt, sentimentality, and outrage. The sheer size of the film, its score and cinematography underline its epicness. The issue is painted in broad strokes, with Schindler doing what we would hope anyone in that position would do and the character of Goeth remains beyond redemption. While it is an acheivement (imo), you don’t gain anything from it with multiple viewings.

    Hunger is more complex in its simplicity, if that makes sense. I’ve seen it at least a dozen times and each time there’s something new. There’s no beauty in its misery – the closest one gets is the lingering shot on the vortex of smeared shit on a cell wall that seems to draw you in, then is powerwashed away later on in the film. McQueen somehow manages to convey the complexity of the situation with minimal sets, characters and dialog.

    Most of the narrative is revealed in a nearly 20 minute verbal pas-de-deux (most of which is a single shot with the camera moving closer at a rate that’s excruciatingly slow) between Bobby and the priest. I have not seen any exchange between two actors on film as riveting as this. By the end, you undertand what has occurred, what decisions are being made and what the inevitable outcome will be. Throughout the rest of the film, before and after this scene, events play out without any enhanced drama or glamour.

    Hunger’s brilliance is in its immediacy and personal impact – no crowds, no sweeping shots, no score to ease the way. You feel the effects of a hunger strike, you are, surprisingly, invited to consider the pain of the bruising of hands forced, through duty, to perform beatings, and while you completely understand Bobby’s motives, your heart breaks that someone should have to face this seemingly alone.

    So, between the two, Hunger gains over the years for me while Schindler’s List remains static.

    I’d be very interested to see what McQueen would do with Lincoln, but we’ll probably get very close to those issues next year.

  • Tero Heikkinen

    Well, I disagree with both of you. I can’t find too much negative to say about Schindler’s List. I think it’s way better than Hunger, for example. Hunger I’ve only seen 3 times, SL maybe 30 times.

    But back to Lincoln for a bit. What has been holding Spielberg down for years now is Janusz Kaminski. When SS is hands-on director (Schindler, Ryan), he pushes JK to do something new. Otherwise he just lets him do whatever he likes and the look is boring. He should take another cinematographer, IMO. Cinematography in Indy IV was terrible and that was one of the reasons I hated the film (not to mention awful script).

    John Williams I’m OK with, he knows when to shut up and many people criticised War Horse because JW did not shut up. I bet there’s only 70 minutes worth of music in a 3hr film in Lincoln. A similar percentage than in Schindler or Ryan.

    So, SS, don’t hire Kaminski anymore, and you get less haters.

  • Unlikely hood

    I don’t disagree w a word about Hunger. But I see Rufus missing something about SL that always bothers me when it’s missed. Schindler is not supposed to be Bobby Sands – that is in many ways the main point. The film is about a very base man who happened into doing a very great thing. The film makes 100 choices to show his mediocrity. It’s almost Christian (as is so much of his work, like the Christ-parable ET and Close Encounters) – admit what a sinner you are, and you can be saved. The list saves Schindler. If you can watch it and not see this and then say you don’t see anything new when you watch it – well that’s a shame.

  • steve50

    I don’t find many negatives with SL, either. I just find portraying “the struggle” to be more effective on a personal level than an epic one.

    I’m really hoping that, with an actor as accomplished as DDL, SS allows him some extended personal moments because, god knows, both the real character and the situation in which he found himself deserve that kind of attention. Forget the tricky shots, can the music and turn DDL loose and you should end up with something memorable.

  • Tero Heikkinen

    I’m sure he let DDL do whatever he wanted in heavy dialogue scenes. Everybody knows how good an actor he is.

    SL is an epic with well over a hundred speaking roles (and even many of these were combined so the film doesn’t fall apart). I have read the book and I think the film turned out great. That’s just one story, but this particular story is not very personal – there are too many people involved in it. Whereas something like The Pianist is very much a one man’s trip – and the setting is similar. So, it can be done. Depends on the story. So, The Pianist should be your kind of stuff more.

    Steven Zaillian sure deserved his Oscar. Especially when he also directed one of the best films of that very same year.

  • rufussondheim

    Unlikelyhood touches on the main reason why I dislike Schindler’s List, and that’s the characterization of Schindler. We simply don’t know anything about him. Yes, his arc is dutifully portrayed. But we are never given any real information on why he chooses to risk everything to save people while the hundreds and thousands of Germans around him choose nothing.

    I don’t think it’s sufficient to say “Oh he was a good man” or “People like him are special and rare” as so many people say. The Holocaust was designed by one evil person, but it couldn’t have been perpetrated without thousands of people, even millions of people playing along. What innate qualities of Oskar Schindler caused him to not play along? I don’t think these are questions that should go unanswered in a 3 hour epic that puts his name in the title.

    I once saw Spielberg comment on criticism of the film by saying something like “I wasn’t interested in discussing evil and the source of evil.” Now that’s fine and dandy. I agree with him. It’s easy to understand the evil at the heart of the Holocaust. But that, to me, begs the question, “How can good emerge in the midst of so much evil?” That is a fascinating question that Spielberg never bothers to ask. And I think such a question needs to be asked in a film with Spielberg’s ambitions.

  • rufussondheim

    Searching for Bobby Fischer is such a great film, Tero. One that’s so often overlooked.

  • steve50

    Good call, Tero – I do prefer The Pianist.

    And I agree that Searching for Bobby Fischer is brilliant and undeservedly almost forgotten.

  • mecid

    ^ Why to post such long posts my friends, just tell you hate everything Spielberg done and continue to underestimate his films whether it is good or bad. this is that easy. 🙂

  • Tero Heikkinen

    That is true. It’s not exactly addressed, but I guess it’s simply the fact that he saw Jews (his workers) as human beings and wanted to save himself from being a war profiteer. In the film it’s shown as a very selfish act, and I believe it was just that. Maybe the reason for saving those Jews was a very simple one? That he could. There are thousands of stories like this, but his was exceptional mainly because of his Nazi connections and the amount of survivors.

    True, we don’t know anything about Oskar Schindler until he arrives to Krakow. The story was told by one of his workers, Poldek Pfefferberg. I’m sure Oskar didn’t tell him much. He didn’t talk to his workers on a more personal level until they had arrived to Czechoslovakia – away from Amon Goethe. I’m not sure how much history books would know, other than he failed in all his businesses except the one during the war.

    There are many horrific scenes in the book that didn’t make the film at all. Like when they threw babies from balconies and shot them from the ground like birds. Or the young boy who tried to pass as a man in medical inspecting, but the lack of pubic hair gave him away. You would guess that these kind of scenes would not make it while reading the book.

  • rufussondheim

    I want to comment on this, Tero. But I just got home from work and I’m a bit tired. Plus I need to watch some football. I might get a second wind tonight if not I will definitely post tomorrow.

  • Niles

    Yes but he wanted to show that type of realism to world. His point in fact was to show to people that it existed and that it should never be forgotten. He never took one dime of that money when he directed the film. It’s a different situation with Munich because he did it on the basis of empathy. I don’t think Schindler’s List will ever be forgotten, 10 years ago I watched Schindler’s List in high school for World History and yes no body in my class knew about it. They knew the name Steven Spielberg but all they can think of is Raiders and E.T. and maybe Jaws. The blockbuster films. So Schindler’s List gave them an idea of what the holocaust was like, it was terrible. So I am glad he made it and I am glad he had the courage to make that type of story during sensitive time in history.

  • Tero Heikkinen

    Thank you, Niles. I am drunk now. I love you.

    Rufus is my favourite person still.

  • rufussondheim

    When I was about 10 a couple of missionaries came to my church to recount the tale of how they smuggled Bibles into the Iron Curtain. They told of the boxes of Bibles in the their trunk and all they could do was hope that the guards would choose not to search the trunk. This time the guards did check their trunk. They opened looked in, and waved them past much to the shock of the missionaries who expected to get arrested.

    They were not arrested and when they told this tale to us they gave credit to God for their luck. They believed that God blinded the guards so they could not see the Bibles. I was partially amazed and partially skeptical. But I was ten. I readily accepted the notion of good and evil and never thought too much about it.

    Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris diligently planned a massacre of hundreds at Columbine High School. But when it came time to actually do the deed, Klebold never fired his gun at anyone. Eric did all of the killing.

    I don’t think evil is simple. All of us are part evil and part good, and the parts we show to the world are most often based more on self-preservation than on an altruistic impulse. Now some of us have limits, I don’t think I could kill someone, for example, even if I had a gun pointed at my head. But that’s neither here nor there. Psychopaths are only 1% of the population, which means that 99% of us are capable of empathy in some capacity.

    So the Iron Curtain guards, I’m sure, saw the Bibles, but chose not to do anything about them. Perhaps they were religious and sought those posts so they could let them pass. Maybe they just didn’t feel like doing any paperwork. Who knows? But they were not pure evil even though the missionaries assumed they were both before and after they were waved through.

    Dylan Klebold thought he had evil in him but it turned out he was unable to tap into that evil. He was so timid, he couldn’t even stop Eric Harris from committing the horriffic actions that would shake a nation. How evil was Dylan Klebold? I don’t have the answer to that question.

    Every account I’ve read from a Holocaust survivor always contains at least one instance where the enemy failed to do their job properly in some way. Either it was a soldier who chose not to fire, or a guard that gave advanced warning of incoming danger. We like to think of the enemy as pure evil, but they are not. They are no different than us. They are just in a different situation.

    It is unlikely every guard in every concentration camp was evil. I would guess that most did what they were forced to do to survive but struggled with it more we’ll ever know. We see them as evil. We have no compassion for them. But if you had your children to feed what would you be capable of?

    When I watch Schindler’s List I don’t see any middle ground. But surely there must have been. The movie version of Schindler spoke of bribing guards and others, but I can’t imagine he could have succeeded without many people looking the other way. And I doubt everyone needed to be paid to do so. Even though there was constant death around them I imagine a large portion of the camp personell sought ways to alleviate their guilt.

    I wonder how large of a network of people Schindler needed to save that many people? Surely he wasn’t an island of good in a sea of pure evil. And yet this is the way Spielberg chose to portray him. Spielberg chose to portray every other Nazi as pure evil. I can’t imagine that was the case. It’s easy to see the Iron Guards as evil. It’s easy to see Dylan Klebold as evil. It’s easy to see every Nazi guard as evil. It’s easy to see yourself as a good person. No one wants to know what they would do in desperate times.

  • Tero Heikkinen

    I don’t think Dylan Klebold was evil. Not at all. You push me, and I will do the same. That would be my own will, but Nazis were forced to do that – different thing.

  • steve50

    Well said, rufus.

    Tero – you suggested, correctly, that I probably preferred The Pianist to Schindler’s List. Here’s a clip from YouTube of the scene that did it for me. It’s Thomas Kretschmann’s performance, which illustrates what I think rufus is referring to.

  • Tero Heikkinen

    Yeah, after all this, I had to put the disc in my Blu-ray player and watch it again. The Pianist that is.

  • rufussondheim

    Thanks, Steve. Sadly that scene is blocked in the US for copyright.

  • steve50

    Sorry, rufus – usually the blocking is the other way around and I can’t see what’s posted. I assume you know which scene I mean.

  • rufussondheim

    I have a vague memory. Either way, it’s not crucial.

    Two weeks ago it was Gone Baby Gone, last week it was Hunger.

    Not sure what film I should catch up this week. Perhaps There Will Be Blood.

Check Also

Brand New OscarWatch Podcast, Episode One

After far too many months away, Sasha and I have relaunched a weekly podcast all about the…