Some directors have a track record so magnificent even their film’s trailers leave your emotions ablaze.
That’s surely the reaction we’ll get while watching the first extended look at “Lincoln,” Steven Spielberg’s eagerly awaited take on the country’s 16th president.
So why does watching the film’s first trailer leave an empty feeling in our gut?
“Lincoln” casts Oscar-winner Daniel Day-Lewis as the leader who kept the country united during the War Between the States. His story is the stuff of legends, and we’ve been waiting for a big-screen treatment of Lincoln’s greatness for some time.
No, “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” hardly counts.
The previously leaked images of Day-Lewis as Lincoln were enough to prime our anticipatory circuits. The great actor’s likeness to Lincoln is uncanny, though hardly dependent on makeup excess or other short cuts. We’re denied an extended look at his performance, and the actor’s voice as Lincoln sounds higher than expected.
The assembled cast should give Day-Lewis plenty of support, from Tommy Lee Jones to Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
The emotional highlight here is watching Lincoln on horseback, his body crooked at an odd angle as if the weight of every decision leading up to the war prevented him from standing tall in the saddle.
The rest of the footage is … perfectly acceptable, but it’s impossible not to express more from a Spielberg production of this magnitude.
“Lincoln,” set for a Nov. 9 release, may be holding its greatness at bay. The film’s subject matter deserves nothing less.