Comments on watching and making films.

Friday, January 25, 2008

There Will Be Blood

Paul Thomas Anderson hasn't made a film in a long time. His last was the, in my opinion, highly under appreciated, and often misunderstood, Punch Drunk Love. But Anderson waded through material and finally came across Upton Sinclair's Oil!, and decided that it was a good place to start. He couldn't have been more correct.

There Will Be Blood is like a modern marriage of two cinematic powerhouses. It features the amazing Mallick-esque cinematography (circa Days of Heaven), and engrossing story telling, like the best John Ford films. Daniel Day-Lewis plays Daniel Plainview, an independent oil man around the turn of the century, who, along with his young son H.W. Plainview, and a band of loyal workers, goes from area to area, buying up or leasing land and drilling for oil. Plainview is a hard man, a man who lives out of tents and shacks, willing to push himself to any extreme to get what he wants. He is an evil man. His character has some foundation in Day-Lewis' character of Bill Cutting from Gangs of New York. Both are bullies and proto-mob bosses at heart. Both want everything and are willing to do whatever it takes to get it. Both are willing to steam roll anyone in there way.

Plainview's business is chugging along when, one night, he gets a visit from a mysterious stranger identifying himself as Paul, and points Plainview to an area of land which he say's has oil on it, for a price, of course. When Plainview visits the Sunday ranch, to look at this prospect that Paul has sold him, he finds oil near the surface, along with a strange religious family that is lead by Paul's carbon copy brother Eli.

Plainview figures Eli for a rube whose religious fanaticism leaves him to naive to stop Plainview from taking what he wants. But this assumption leads them into a dangerous cat and mouse game which runs throughout the whole film, and will cost both of them dearly.

What can you say about this film? It was amazing. At two and a half hours long, it had me engrossed the whole time. I was amazed at Daniel Day-Lewis, as usual, and the epic nature of the film is something that you so rarely see in cinema these days. PT Anderson continues to grow in his genius and scope, and There Will Be Blood only leaves me wanting and waiting for his next film.

I also wanted to take a second to mention the amazing score by Johnny Greenwood of Radiohead. The music was spare and simple, but every second of it was perfect.

Simply Amazing, all around.

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