'Cult' wants to kidnap and brainwash you
Published: February 13, 2013
Legit has its moments, though a better title might be Illegit.
Killing Lincoln (7pm Sun, National Geographic Channel)
Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln drew a curtain over the president’s assassination, opting to take a different perspective on his final days. With diligent attention to detail, Killing Lincoln fills in that part of the story for those with the stomach for it. Based on Bill O’Reilly’s book, the production strikes the perfect balance between documentary and drama.
Tom Hanks narrates onscreen while actors capably render scenes from April 1865. The filmmakers put us right there in the White House, Ford’s Theater, and the chaotic streets of Washington, D.C., sticking closely to the historical record. We feel Lincoln’s vulnerability in the days leading up to the assassination, as Confederates freely roam the streets with vengeance in their hearts.
It’s a thankless job following Daniel Day Lewis in Lincoln, but Billy Campbell does a good job of communicating Old Abe’s intelligence and humanity. Too good, actually — his character’s brutal death is liable to haunt you for days.
Masterpiece Classic (8pm Sun, PBS)
In the season finale of “Downton Abbey,” noble Matthew (Dan Stevens), pregnant wife Mary (Michelle Dockery) and the rest of the upper-class family leave their country estate to visit another country estate. And that’s about it for plot, aside from a bit of tacked-on melodrama. The episode delivers everything fans want from the post-World War I soap opera: masters and servants who know their place, lovely gowns, and a fantasy of English decency, where lords of the manor call each other “old chap” with perfect elocution.
But it doesn’t deliver much else. There’s no significant conflict to resolve, no significant character arcs. The series is so relentlessly decorous that the rare expression of emotion rings false. “I feel like I’ve swallowed a box of fireworks!” Matthew exclaims in a moment of supposed joy.
Next season, fireworks of any kind would be appreciated.