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Saving Lincoln: Film Review

Saving Lincoln Still - H 2013

The Bottom Line

Little-heard angle on Lincoln lore is for hardcore history buffs only.

Opens

Friday, Feb. 15

Cast

Tom Amandes, Lea Coco, Penelope Ann Miller, Creed Bratton, Saidah Arrika Ekulona, Josh Stamberg, Bruce Davison

Director

Salvador Litvak

Historical photos provide the backdrop for a green screen-shot take on Abraham Lincoln's presidency.

The Abraham Lincoln caravan gets one tiny wagon longer with Salvador Litvak's Saving Lincoln, a micro-budget film whose niche is even smaller than that for recent films pitting Honest Abe against the undead. A curiosity telling the President's story through the eyes of longtime friend Ward Hill Lamon, it's of interest only to serious history-hounds and techies curious about its unusual green-screen production.

Lamon (Lea Coco), a former law colleague who made himself personally responsible for Lincoln (Tom Amandes) as his political career grew, is seen here fending off all manner of nefarious schemes; while Lincoln wages war, Lamon uncovers assassination plots involving everything from Yellow Fever to loosed carriage bolts -- the latter of which injured Lincoln's wife (Penelope Ann Miller), but missed him entirely.

Miller is among the bigger names in a cast whose talent level varies wildly. Coco, the film's star, offers a stiffly earnest performance; Amandes, with Daniel Day Lewis's gravitas looming in the viewer's mind, looks like Mister Rogers in a stovepipe hat.

The film's key novelty is what producers are calling CineCollage, a compositing scheme that slices-and-dices historical photographs to build 3D environments for action shot entirely on a green-screen stage. Though far less effective in visual terms than cousins like Sin City or Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, the film does benefit in a strange way from the imagery. Unfortunately for Saving Lincoln, that value seems most appropriate for the kind of short, low-budget films exhibited in history museums.

Production Company: Pictures From The Fringe
Cast: Tom Amandes, Lea Coco, Penelope Ann Miller, Creed Bratton, Saidah Arrika Ekulona, Josh Stamberg, Bruce Davison
Director: Salvador Litvak
Screenwriters: Nina Davidovich Litvak, Salvador Litvak
Producers: Reuben Lim, Salvador Litvak
Executive producer: Horatio C. Kemeny
Director of photography: Alexandre Naufel
Production designer: Gabor Norman
Music: Mark Adler
Costume designer: Carin Jacobs
Editor: Josh Noyes
No rating, 101 minutes