It would be fair to call this the week of the political film.
If you're in the mood for something contemporary, there's Kathryn Bigelow's thrilling, ultimately unsettling look at the events between the tragedy of 9/11 and the eventual capture and killing of Osama Bin Laden in 'Zero Dark Thirty'.
Or, for something more retrospective, Steven Spielberg offers his take on 'Lincoln', with a tireless look at how Honest Abe juggled the competing interests in his government, brought the country out of civil war AND quenched slavery while he was at it... well, that's one reading.
There's obviously a market for the political drama and/or thriller, with cinema seats filled by viewers happy to sit through three hours of celluloid entertainment - possibly the same people who would have blanched at half an hour with a newspaper. But is it an education? Or too subjective to help? Should it be left to the historians? Discuss. My personal take is that it's a lot better than nothing, and hopefully an introductory light on subjects that would never otherwise see the light of day. But it's not the end of the story.
In the meantime, here are, off the top of my head, 23 other political films for a bit of political homework, if these two above have whetted your appetite, or so you can swot up in readiness for any and all pub discussions on Vietnam, slavery, impeachment... and through it all, the seeds of corruption. Have you got a favourite? Or one we've missed? Let me know...