A young Abraham Lincoln (Lux Haney-Jardine) witnesses his mother being killed by a vampire, Jack Barts (Marton Csokas). Considering himself to be guilty for his mother’s death Abraham vouches to take revenge. A decade later, he (Benjamin Walker as Abraham Lincoln) tries to eliminate Barts, but in vain.
An acquaintance Henry Sturges (Dominic Cooper), who is a vampire himself, teaches him ways in which he can fight and kill vampires. However, Henry makes it clear to Abe (short for Abraham) that he will only kill vampires on his orders. Abe moves to Springfield where he is on the job in the days and on the hunt during the nights. The store owner Joshua Speed (Jimmi Simpson) helps him out in getting accommodation and work and goes on to play an instrumental role in his growth as a politician. He also meets Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), his eventual wife, as well as reunites with his childhood friend Will Johnson (Anthony Mackie).
Once he plans to move on to the worldly ways, he vows to not ever get pulled into the world of vampires again. However, having made enemies in vampires such as Adam (Rufus Sewell), Vadoma (Erin Wasson) along with their entire troupe, Mr President Abraham has to return back to his vampire-slaying old-self to save his country.
Performances were decent. Benjamin Walker shows his mettle as a fine actor; however it gets too annoying after a while. He puts in an intense performance in the first half. However, it does dwindle a bit towards the end. Dominic Cooper’s role is one-dimensional, leaving the ‘The Devil’s Double’ star with nothing much to do in the film. The villainous vampires (Marton Csokas, Rufus Sewell and Erin Wasson) too, fail to have any sort of impact. The women in the film are almost lampposts. Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who plays Lincoln’s wife, could have done so much more with her character. The performances were impressive; however they are terribly let down by the disappointing writing.
Based on the 2010 novel of the same name by Seth Grahame-Smith (writer of ‘Dark Shadows’), the film is directed by Timur Bekmambetov (directed the Angeline Jolie starrer ‘Wanted’). Seth Graheme-Smith, who also wrote Tim Burton’s ‘Dark Shadows’, fails to derive the greatness of Lincoln. He even does grave injustice to the genre of vampire films. The concept was indeed, very innovative. To amalgamate a historic figure with a surrealistically-conceived plot was always a risky one. There were a few moments in the film (for instance, Abe learning the art of slaying vampires, his battle with his mother’s murderer Barts with a backdrop of innumerable horses galloping at a thunderbolt speed, the speeches made by Abraham during the political rallies). However, the sad part is that they are too few and far in between.
The background music of the film (Original Music by Henry Jackman) was brilliant. In films such as this one, sound along with visuals plays a big role in capturing the attention of the audience (notwithstanding the thoughtless idea), and Jackman does deliver. The CGI (computer-generated imagery) was breath-taking and even the 3D effects were passable (better in comparison in some of the recent fare that is being meted out).
Director Timur Bekmambetov fails to capture either of the two worlds effectively. Honestly, like one shouldn’t tamper with the classics, even historic figures should be left untouched. Abraham Lincoln is too iconic a figure to be caricaturized in such an absurd manner. The screenplay of the film was bizarre. The events that unfold towards the end could have been better placed in order to end the film on a high. However, looks like the makers wanted to leave no stone unturned to accomplish this kamikaze.
They shouldn’t have made this film at all. Neither does it contribute greatly in terms of storytelling nor does it boast of out-of-the-world visuals. The story does great disservice to the great man that was Abraham Lincoln.