Films | Movie Reviews | Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter – Movie Review

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter – Movie Review

Posted by FATEMA H.KAGALWALA on July 13, 2012 | No Comments

FILM – Abraham Lincoln – Vampire Hunter
PRODUCER – Timur Bekmambetov, Tim Burton, Jim Lemley
DIRECTOR – Timur Bekmambetov
WRITER – Seth Grahame-Smith (screenplay), Seth Grahame-Smith (novel)
CAST – Benjamin Walker, Rufus Sewell and Dominic Cooper
MUSIC – Henry Jackman

Honestly Abe Lincoln is probably the most unlikely hero to go vampire hunting. It would be a mistake to expect a historical just because the film in question, ‘Abraham Lincoln-Vampire Hunter’, involves the 16th President of United States. It is an out and out thriller with darkness and gore at its heart, shoveling the historical significance and stature of the man to the sidelines to tell a story that makes him America’s first superhero in ways we are yet to conceive.

The film is based on the novel of the same name by Seth Grahame-Smith, also the screenplay-writer of the film. It begins with a young Lincoln discovering the existence of vampires and setting about eliminating them. It begins as a personal revenge drama, with Barts (Marton Csokas), a vampire and the plantation owner where Lincoln’s parents work, being responsible for Nancy’s, (Lincoln’s mom) death. After an ill-conceived attack on Barts, Lincoln is rescued by Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper) who begins training him in the art of vampire hunting. Lincoln grows up and his shadow side begins to take a backseat as he takes up a political and ideological life. However, his vampire hunting isn’t an Achilles Heel to be hidden and is celebrated in the film as a dare-devil and heroic ability replete with elaborate action scenes and drama. The film from there on continues to chart Lincoln’s life less as a comment and more as a biography re-told for horror and fantasy fans.

The premise and promise of the film is base thrill. It works itself as a slasher film with sufficient gore and thumping action, charting Lincoln’s personal life somewhere in between. It takes on a surprisingly serious tone, exalting Lincoln’s pursuits with a self-important heroism rather than a swashbuckling adventure. In doing so the fun quotient goes redux but the respect and awe the Abe evokes remains intact. Does it serve the film well? Not quite.

Benjamin Walker, with his lean and lanky stature and sober performance makes for a convincing Lincoln but lacks the defining charisma we associate with Lincoln’s person, something that we attribute to his steely conviction and ideology. Dominic Cooper plays the supporting part of the mentor with the intentions of luring him onto the ‘other’ side in a low key manner. The dark environment suffused with impending threat makes sufficient room for his portrayal. Probably the hero of the film is lensman Caleb Deschanel who dredges up a world of dark heroes and cold nights with surprisingly chilly effect. Add the thrills of gore and action and the film becomes a passably good watch without doing any character-defining or genre-bending work despite its mashup nature.

FATEMA KAGALWALA

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