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Ronita Torcato

A little chit, a little chat, a little bit of this & that;meaning news, views & lotsa reviews from an independent journo based in Bombay aka Mumbai


review of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Subversive horror actioner

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Starring:Benjamin Walker, Dominic Cooper, Rufus Sewell, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Anthony Mackie, Jimmi Simpson,Erin Wasson
Director: Timur Bekmambetov

If Hollywood can churn out
literary-horror mashups like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, why not a
period epic in 3D like   Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter? Why ever not
indeed! In this subversive fantasy/horror/actioner directed by Timur
Bekmambetov, vampires  hold sway over the Southern Confederacy where the
slaves serve as sustenance as the narrative traverses the  journey of
USA's  16th  and greatest president from rural backwoods to the White
Along the way, the Civil Warthreatens to break America.  But a house
divided against itself cannot stand and mild-mannered Abe Lincoln
understood this better than any man even if he wasn't  one hundred
percent abolitionist. But then neither was George Washington who had a
(secret) second life with house-slave Sally Hemmings.

As for Lincoln,who saw America as God's Own Country much in the
manner of those who cherish Israel as the Promised Land given  to the
prophet Abraham and his progeny ( from the right side of the blanket)
for eternity, America was not to be divided EVER.

Cut to 1865 anno domini when Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) is mentored
by  Henry Sturges’ (Dominic Cooper)  as an axe-wielding vampire hunter
whose desire for vengeance ( his mother was killed by a vampire) must be
overcome for the greater good. It's  interesting that the  usual
spiritual weapons that are used  to battle vampires (e.g crucifixes,
holy water) are absent,even as screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith, adapting
his 2010 novel (he also wrote Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) gets a
reformed vampire  to reiterate what the Bible already says.As he tells
Lincoln, “Truth, not hatred, is the greatest power...There is darkness
everywhere! You are not the only one who has lost everything! If
vengeance is all you seek, you will never be able to save mankind.”

Again, Sturges echoes Scripture when he  advises Lincoln to dispense
with  family and friends in order  to despatch the undead to extinction
( or the netherworld for eternity). But  Lincoln as we  know ( or
should) would eventually wed his lady love  Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth
There's a perfunctory discussion on slavery and religion. “We’re all
slaves to something,” says  a character,echoing once again,Scripture,
the New Testament to be specific. That's solid thinking in an
actioner with interesting characters like the aforementioned as well as others
like the head honchos  of the undead ( Rufus Sewell and Erin Wasson )
Cinematographer Caleb Deschanel (The Passion of
the Christ) gives a darkly morbid  feel to the dark goings on. The
climactic train ride atop a burning bride is lensed adroitly as  Lincoln
and Adam ( Sewell)  fight to a spectacular finish. There's poignancy in the scene where mary tells Abe to hurry up to get to the theatre but history non-buffs  may not catch on.

Interestingly, the film has received a drubbing from some critics
who could either be closet racists or historical purists demanding
accuracy and strict factual  standards in the movie.
You might like to know Tom Hardy was approached for the role of Lincoln,
but turned it down due to scheduling conflicts with The Dark Knight
Rises which releases in India next week.

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About Ronita Torcato

Torcato Agnela Ronita
An incomplete round-up of movie news, features & views from an independent journo & (dare I say it:-) film critic in Mumbai



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