Friday, February 01, 2008

There Will Be Blood

There Will Be Blood

Took a little time out today to go see There Will Be Blood. A few thoughts. And, as always, here there be spoilers:

1.) I wasn't raring to go see this one. I wanted to see it, in an abstract kind of way, but I wasn't going to go out of my way to catch it...I'd have been perfectly fine if I'd waited until DVD. But, I had my chores caught up, for once. Plus, a steaming bout of stir-crazy started a set in. So, I went out to catch the movie...

2.) It's not that I don't like P.T. Anderson's movies. But, after watching them, I never feel like I need to sit and watch them again. I appreciate them for their worth. But I've never been part of that crowd that froths at the mouth for Boogie Nights or Magnolia. Personally, I thought Hard Eight was the best of his bunch, and the only one I've felt like I've needed to see again.

3.) That said, Anderson seems to have a way of wrenching superb performances from some of his actors. I think of John C. Reilly in Boogie Nights, and in Magnolia in particular. The world in Anderson's movies is fairly bleak. Remember the whole "human race going down the toilet" thing from a couple posts back? Yeah. Except, Reilly's cop in Magnolia seems out of place. A legitimate good guy, even with a crack or two in the armor. Granted, I've only seen Magnolia the one time, and probably won't again for a while yet, so I may be misremembering altogether.

4.) He does that again with Paul Dano in this flick. A lot of people will talk about Daniel Day Lewis' performance in the flick, but for some reason, Dano's Eli was a lot more fun to watch. And a lot more fun to figure out. He's a preacher, right? But a preacher who seems to crave the limelight. I kept going back and forth as to whether it was self-serving, or an attempt to step into a void for leadership, in the face of the "evil" that was Daniel Plainview.

In short, I spent myself trying to figure out if he was for real, or a Charlatan. It's easy enough to yell charlatan at a religious figure. Easy enough to root for. Yet somehow, when the final revelation came, while Eli was at his darkest hour, I found myself disappointed. I was honestly surprised at that, seeing as how I spent the whole movie rooting against him.

5.) At the very least, you knew that Daniel Plainview was a sonunvabitch. And that's what gets me down about this flick. There's no turn around. I suppose such a thing would be disingenuous, but it kinda made for a really long 2 1/2 hours knowing that the guy's just gonna stay a determined asshole. The only question will be to what degree he takes it....

6.) I liked Kevin J. O'Connor's performance, too. However, he's made a career out of playing the spineless types. Think we all kinda figured him for a conman, and maybe that was the point. When he came on screen, you wanted to tell the guy "you have no idea what you're messing with...."

7.) I can't say a lot for Daniel Day Lewis that hasn't already been said. A classic performance as Daniel Plainview. Not my personal favorite in his catalog (I liked Bill "the Butcher," just for his completely believable sumbitchedness...and there's a special spot in my heart for Last of the Mohicans...) For all the static nature of his character, it's still a sight to see. He carries the movie.

8.) But here's the thing. I kept thinking of a Pauline Kael review of Rain Man, where she calls that movie Dustin Hoffman humping the same note on the piano for 2 hours. There's a tinge of that in this flick.

9.) Have I mentioned that the movie's long? It's about 2 hours worth of movie packed into 158 minutes.

10.) In short, it's a decent enough movie. Not great, though. Worth a look for Daniel Day Lewis & Paul Dano. Long. Have I mentioned long? Pretty long. But decent enough, on the whole....


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