At one point Booth is whistling the minstrel show song "Kingdom Come, or Year of Jubilo," but the DVD subtitles misidentify the tune as "Dixie." See more »
The doors to the white house stand open, to one and all, day and night. My life is within reach of anyone, sane or mad. By the hand of a murder I can die but once, but to go continually in fear, well that is to die over and over... and over again.
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Tom Hanks hosts and narrates this docu-drama about the final days in the life of Abraham Lincoln (Billy Campbell) who would be assassinated by John Wilkes Booth (Jesse Johnson) and change American history forever. Hanks starts off quickly talking about how history has shown Lincoln as a martyr but then mentions that a minute before his death he really wasn't all that popular. This approach isn't something most documentaries take but it pretty much goes away from anything new and instead just tells us the assassination story again. Last year I watched quite a few documentaries on the Civil War and Lincoln so I've become well versed in the subject. This film here is certainly worth watching but at the same time I do question if it was really necessary to do the film like this. We'll see quick re-enactment of events and then we'll flashback to Hanks who is usually sitting in a chair. He will then tell us something about the events going on (ala.. Lincoln has 12 hours to live) and then we go back to the footage. I think the film probably would have worked just as well had it been done as a straight movie without the narration. I also think it would have been great had Hanks just narrated the entire story. As it is the film is entertaining but I think at times we never really connect with the re-enactments and I think Billy Campbell really gets hosed because he never really gets to come to life as Lincoln. It seems most of Lincoln's greatness is told through the narration so the acting of Campbell really doesn't have much of a part to do. On the other hand, Johnson is simply wonderful in the role of Booth and really manages to steal the film. While the subject might be about Lincoln, the actor makes the greatest attention go to the murderer. The look of the film was quite nice even with the obvious at times CGI. History buffs are certainly going to enjoy this and I think the best thing is how is breaks down what was going on the day of the assassination.
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