Finally saw There Will Be Blood, a movie first mentioned briefly on StrangeCulture in April 2006, wondering if it had a chance of being an Academy Award winner.
Obviously, as a major nominated film it received some unique attention, especially for a P.T. Anderson film. Yet, the fact is, this doesn't feel at all like a P.T. Anderson film (Magnolia, Hard Eight, Boogie Nights, Punch-Drunk-Love). It doesn't use any of his "typical cast" it doesn't have any of his "typical feel." And it's clear that Anderson was trying to create something different.
If I were to draw any time when I thought about P.T. Anderson and drew a connection to other films, it was in the Johnny Greenwood (Radiohead) score. It's far more of a sound score, than a "musical" one, and the sound creates an emotion, much like other Anderson films.
Also, the other Anderson-esque thing that this film has is it has characters that exhist in a world of complicated morality, and when you watch the film, there are simply moments where you feel akward, as if the characters own complicate morality is exposed and you as the audience should not be looking.
Daniel Day-Lewis is incredible in this "almost over-the-top" role. He balances a part where it's often challenging to know whether to be horrified or laugh at his line delivery. Day-Lewis becomes Daniel Plainview in this movie, and Plainview is a very interesting character. After seeing the film, I fully support the many awards that have been lauded on him, and have no problem with Daniel Day-Lewis maintaining his front-runner status and winning the Oscar for best actor.
I was also impressed with Paul Dano. I expected after seeing the previews that I would grow tedious and annoyed with his character, but the fact of the matter is, his actual screentime is not that frequent, so when the film starts to drag and get boring, the scenes that pit Eli Sunday (Dano) vs. Daniel Plainview end up being quiet entertaining.
I can't decide if I really-liked or just sorta-liked this film. I certainly respected it, and am glad I saw it. Yet there simply were times I felt detatched, and while the narrative and theme of corruption are interesting, the movie really ended up being a character show piece for Daniel Day-Lewis, and a technically exceptional film (Robert Elswit' s cinemotography is excellent, as are the set designs and general art direction of the film).
I think in my mind, I'm still balancing out how I view all the best picture nominated films this year, and one thing is for certain in my mind - There Will Be Blood is a much better film than No Country For Old Men, and it is a shame that No Country For Old Men stole so much attention in the precursor race.