Tuesday, April 22, 2008

There Will Be Blood

So this makes two movies in a row (Lars and the Real Girl) that I highly recommend. Unlike Lars, this is not a feel-good story ... at all. It is, however, a tremendous movie. If you've been living under a rock for the past 6 months, here's the trailer:

First, I need to admit that I was a big fan of P.T. Anderson and Daniel Day-Lewis before I even saw this film, largely due to Punch-Drunk Love and The Last of the Mohicans, respectively. Now that my bias is in the open, I again declare that this movie is fantastic. On the other hand, I will warn you that it is "slow," as the first lines of dialog do not come until after the ten-minute mark. I'm a fan of "slow" movies if they are good (i.e. The Mission, About Schmidt, The Assassination of Jesse James...), and this is one of those movies, so don't watch it expecting it to have the pace of a Die Hard movie.

Having watched There Will Be Blood on both the big and little screens, if you missed it in theaters then you can't fully grasp the film's cinematic brilliance. Normally a movie necessitates a big-screen viewing because of action scenes; TWBB translates adequately to the small screen, but the grandiose vistas lose their impact. I still command you to see this movie, but keep the lack of the theater factor
in mind.

Daniel Day-Lewis gives what I comfortably call "the best performance I've ever seen." I might be guilty of presentism and I haven't seen all the "classics," but watching this movie for a second time confirmed my initial impressed impression. For instance, after Daniel places his son on the train and "goes to see the conductor," you can see his lips subtly moving as he walks away with his head down. The amazing thing about DDL in this film is that he never overacts in a film that features him on screen for about 150 of the 158 minutes.

I think There Will Be Blood should have won the Oscar for Best Picture over No Country for Old Men and here's why: the ending. I left NCfOM with a complete "WTF mate?" sort of feeling. What does the dream mean? Does it mean that Javier Bardem gets away or that he's eventually going to get caught? As I exited the theater after seeing TWBB, my mouth might have still been agape, and I probably shook my head in disbelief at how stunning--yet thoroughly fitting--the ending was. No ambiguity. It might be the best, yet most horrifying, ending ever.

Final Grade: A+
Blurb: This movie inspires the most deserved ("deserve-ed") hyperbole ... ever. Rent it. Right now.


  1. I agree that this is a great movie, but I have to say ... I liked No Country for Old Men better. "No disrespect, but that's how I am."

  2. well, you've been rapping for about 17 years and you don't like yourself, so i understand.

  3. I appreciate your review of TWBB and agree with your assessment of the ending. It was very fitting and very horrifying. Also worth commenting on is your point that DDL doesn't overact in this film, even though he's in practically every frame. True. I hadn't thought about that. Thanks for pointing it out.

    All that said, I think you already know I have throw my two cents of disagreement into the mix. :-) While the film was incredible as far as cinematogaphy and acting go, I can't get over how unredeeming the characters are. Before reading your review, I would have given TWBB a D, maybe D-. After seeing some things in a new light, I think I'll go with a solid C. Many notches below your A+, but not failing.

  4. the characters are indeed horrible people (excepting the deaf son), but they both get what they deserve in the end: death and a solitary existence devoid of love. thus, while their redemption isn't typical they both seem to pay for each other's debts (but not in a salvific manner, by any stretch of the imagination).

    it would not have been a believable--or good/better--movie if Daniel Plainview and Eli Sunday had forgiven each other and become best friends at the end of the movie. TWBB is a [cautionary] tale of greed and its power to destroy.

  5. Honestly, I rented this movie after hearing so many great things about it, and I was horribly disappointed.

    Yes, the acting was superb. But I feel like a movie is supposed to entertain as well. I also felt that "WTF mate?!" feeling afterwards. I also felt like I'd wasted what seemed like 10hrs of my life.

    Good review anyway, maybe I'm just too dense to realize a good movie when I see one.

  6. No, it was a bad movie. Just... bad. At no point was I interested in seeing how it ended and yet I heard it was great so I kept watching. And it was just awful. The acting was great, but the rest? Not even close. My main problem was the music. There was at least a 30 minute time frame of me thinking I was watching a horror movie and yet nothing actually happened. Watch it again and listen to the music... you'll see what I mean.

    Otherwise (asideo from DDL's acting) there's really nothing good to say about this movie. Nothing.

  7. yes, the music was a little strange (johnny greenwood, the guitarist from radiohead), but i think the "horror" sound of the music was supposed to represent the greed of daniel plainview. so it may seem like "nothing was going on," but in reality, the terrible sin of greed--which is what turned plainview into such a terrible person--was manifesting itself and multiplying.

    watch it again, listen to the music, correlate it with the undertone of the storyline, and you'll see what i mean.

    and yes, it's a slow movie, but there's nothing wrong with demonstrating patience. you didn't think the end was a great payoff? i think our culture of non-stop action films has rotted your brain. i hope your favorite film isn't "transporter 2".