Tuesday, February 19, 2008
There Will Be Blood
PHENOMENAL: (Paul Thomas Anderson) WHAT a movie this one is. There Will Be Blood is the first movie in a long long time to stimulate audience intelligence while doing its novel justice. Based on the book, Oil! by Upton Sinclair, Blood is the story of the oil strike, beginning at its roots in the late 1800s and following it through its boom in the mid 1900s and all from the viewpoint of Daniel Day Lewis's Daniel Plainview. A self-made oil man, Plainview knew business and knew how to make it successful, and set to do just that through swindle and sale in land believed to be rich with "an ocean of oil" underneath its dry surface. Like the style Sinclair is so well known for, the best way to describe this story is grotesque. (Not gross). Plainview is revealed for the immoral, dirty and cunning man that it took to take him to the top of the oil business. Anderson's directing illustrates Plainview's bout with competitors, his pursuasion of farmers to let him buy their land, and the overall dirty trail he followed to take his grasp at success. From abandoning the son he used as a marketing tool, to tormenting the town's pastor for an unpaid promise, Blood sheds (no pun there) light on the sticky situation oil drilling became. Anderson brings out the filth of the people involved, and shows the corruption that came out of the fumes of oil drilling. Blood covers a lot of time, allowing us to dig deep into the mind of Plainview and witness the rise of a man from lonely and unsuccessful mining to the most powerful oilman under the Standard Oil Company. But from this vantage point, we must watch the opposing fall that happens within. It's tragic and dark, and the darker it gets, the more we can see and the more he denies. Don't expect a happy ending here, but expect a phenomenal story of a man stricken with a disease of the mind. Prepare yourself for sadness, hard falls and ridiculous corruption. But amidst all of the despair, let yourself experience the masterpiece that is this story. There Will Be Blood slowly and painfully reveals a story, just as the raw experience was lived. Daniel Day Lewis performs a flawless portrait of Plainview. He proves his short absence was well deserved as his acting here is supreme. He captures not only the character of Sinclair's oilman, but envelops his own persona into the heart of this man, evoking raw emotion of a torn spirit and candid personality of a ragged man. I have seen rare an actor represent in such an impressive taste. Sinclair was done well here. Let yourself be awed.