He writes them in prose (“You provide the prose poems, I’ll provide the war”) but begins:
It’s possible that 2012 will be remembered not as the year of the auteur but as the year of inspired writer-director partnerships. The two strongest movies of the year—“Lincoln” and “Zero Dark Thirty”—would have been inconceivable without the extensive collaboration between (as Variety would put it) a scribe and a helmer.
In Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln,” you can see a few (very few) sentimental touches and underlinings of the kind that Spielberg has indulged in the past; most of the movie is sombre and quietly fervent. Lincoln himself, I suppose, can be viewed as a redemptive figure in the mold of Oskar Schindler, though the two men couldn’t be farther apart in manner, body, tactics, and speech. Compared to every other Spielberg film, the use of the camera and color is remarkably restrained. (Think of Spielberg’s other major historical film, “Empire of the Sun,” with its dazzling shimmer, its gold-blue brilliance; I prefer not to think of “Amistad” at all.) The genius of “Lincoln,” as we all have said, is that it’s not an epic or a bio-pic but a charged account of one month in the President’s life—a film about democratic process and legislation, and thus, inevitably, about pressure, patronage, guilt-mongering, deception. All the elements of deal-making.