Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Initial There Will Be Blood Post-Viewing Thoughts

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.


Anonymous said...

Can you substantiate your claim that There Will Be Blood is a *much better* film than No Country for Old Men?

You jump right to the conclusion without any arguments. Obviously, I disagree with your claim. But, if X is better than Y, then please explain.

Jeremy said...

I would agree that I felt detached as well in some parts of the movie which I think made me not like it as much than some people, but I also have high admiration for the film making and performances, I just felt it was missing a certain empathy towards Daniel Plainview, but perhaps that was the point of the character I'm not sure, but because of that I didn't enjoy it as much.

I feel like I have to watch it again.

Will said...

Yes, wow, I'm curious to hear your explanation about this film being better than No Country.
Don't get me wrong - I think this film MAY BE better. I just haven't seen it yet, and thoroughly enjoyed No Country.

Thanks for the review!

RC said...

@ verbal and will -

i think it's an enjoyment factor here...i enjoyed the story of there will be blood better and thought the story to screen transition made sense. I felt like No Country For Old Men was very disjointed and that the characters, especially bardem's character was so unrealistic that his unhumanness interfered with revealing the humanness of the other characters. Plus, I feel like there was a huge disconnect between the Tommy Lee Jones role and the Josh Brolin/Javier Bardem story.

I don't know if that makes sense or not, but There Will Be Blood was far more "connected" to me. And held my interest far better.

Fletch said...

I felt the same way after just having seen Blood a month or so ago. I've come to love it more as time goes by, and I too am in the "better than No Country" camp.

Anonymous said...

to RC:

That's fair enough. I do not particularly agree, but we are all entitled to opinions. I thought both movies were great. I enjoyed No Country a bit more because of the dialog, thriller* aspect, and philosophical notions on change (i.e. change is inevitable, and we often can't do anything to prevent it, etc.) I do believe that Chigurgh was a bit superhuman and unrealistic. However, I felt like he represented a concept, and not a real person. That is, he represented something much more powerful than a mere human. In essence, he had to be presented as something more than just a person. He had to be presented as violence and evil personified. Hence, he seemed much more powerful than an average killer. He (as a person) might seem unrealistic, but as a concept (of evil), I think it makes a little more sense (to me at least).

In any case, thanks for the review. I respectfully disagree, but if either movie wins, I'll be content.

panbanger said...

I liked reading your thoughts on this movie. Wish I could see it, but the length of the film unfortunately kept me away. Due to a recent injury I don't think I'll be able to handle that much time in a movie theater seat. Hoping it comes to dvd real soon though....it looks good!

Anonymous said...

Your review is relatively good, but I feel that both No Country and There Will Be Blood were amazing films. I never felt detached from the events in either of them, they both held my complete attention through perfect pacing and outstanding quality. While I personally think that No Country is a better movie than There Will Be Blood, it would be nice for you to explain why you felt differently. You have to back up something like that man.

Anonymous said...

It is rather interesting for me to read the post. Thanx for it. I like such topics and everything that is connected to this matter. BTW, why don't you change design :).