Tuesday, April 8, 2008

There Will Be Blood...



This film is loosely based on an Upton Sinclair novel called "Oil!" So right there you know what it is going to be about. It is the story of an oil tycoon named Daniel Plainview (played by Daniel Day-Lewis, more on him later), who discovers that their is an "ocean of oil" below the are that he is in. As the story grows, so does his capitalistic insanity, and want for more money and oil. Along the way he meets a young pastor (played great by Paul Dano, coming off his good role in Little Miss Sunshine) who does not see eye to eye with the tycoon and fears for not only his family, but his church. That is all I want to say about the plot, because I went in pretty much blind about the entire film, and it really really helped me get into it.


This film is absolutely stunning. It begins with this almost silent (minus some grunting) film and really gets you into the man and myth that is Daniel Plainveiw. It's almost like a D.W. Grifith film. We are watching this man become fused into this capitalistic world. And then when he says "I am an oil man", I just got kinda excited. And what I thought would end up happening didn't. He (Paul Thomas Anderson) doesn't go into the Hollywood, thriller mode. He keeps it grounded in reality and makes a perfect choice. Also, with that "I am an oil man" statement, which we hear multiple times, we don't get to see who he is talking to, or the group that he is talking to for a while into each speach. And you know what, it doesn't matter. To Daniel Plainview, each town is the same. Each person is the same. This is a great little character discussion.


This is an absolutely gorgeous film with one monster performance. Daniel Day-Lewis gives what I am calling right now the strongest and heaviest performance of this century so far. He is a tour de force on that silver screen. And, it's not only a big performance, but everyone knows a person just like Daniel Plainveiw. A person who deals in absolutes. We can understand this character more that way.


However, this strength leads to a hinderence in other characters performances, Paul Dano's character mainly. He trys his hardest to match wits, but just falls short. Maybe it was meant for Dano's preacher to be a less than good one, but it just bothered me a little bit. That is the main quable that I had with this film. Also, with the first two thirds being so damn amazing, the third act almost shouldn't have happened. It was a little bothersome. It wasn't so much that it wasn't good, I loved the ending, it just seemed out of place. PTA seems to give Daniel Day too much range to roam. It's not a bad engind, just one that may have been a little out of place. That standing, this ending will leave you talking about this film forever. It is such an interesting ending, that the character development, especially in the HW character doesn't really stand up. The last couple of lines are so intense and really I don't wanna say anything, but if anyone sees this (and if I see one more week where Alvin and the Chipmunks is in the top 10, someone will die) I would like to hear what you think about the last line especially.


With that said, this is one of the best, possibly the best film I have seen all year. It is a sweeping epic and is much more than a film. It is an experience. Paul Thomas Anderson proves himself as one of the most exciting directors working today. He made a film that is wholly original, thought provoking and tracendent. I can't wait to see what he does next.


Now, heres the debate. What is the better film, No Country For Old Men, or There Will Be Blood? If anyone reads this and has seen both, I would like to hear what you think. I personally think that they are both amazing masterpieces. I do have one problem with TWBB that I don't with No Country. I think the performances as a whole are better in No Country. Granted, Daniel Day-Lewis is phenominal, but Paul Dano, and especially the guy who plays the adult HW are kind of lacking. However, I do give There Will Be Blood the edge for the sheer audacity and ambition of this Citizen Kane-esque masterpiece. So, if I had to pick one, I would go with TWBB...what about you? Any thoughts?

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