>INITIAL RANTING After a rather shocking day, winding up a five-week long saga over a computer I bought (I’m fine now, thanks for asking) my dad insisted we go see “the movie about the oil”.
Not wanting to spoil the surprise (that the film was less about oil and more about Daniel Day Lewis), we headed off to my work (where we see movies for free, oh yeah, you’re so totally jealous).
MORE RANTING/THE SET UP? I jokingly say There Will Be Blood is about Daniel Day Lewis because that is probably the first thing you knew about it. In fact when I first saw the poster on apple trailers I thought it was some shocking horror movie, the words “There Will Be Blood” tend to evoke in me feelings of horror rather than excellent acting. But when I heard that the aforementioned actor was in it and the rather spectacular Paul Dano (of Little Miss Sunshine) I was there!
For those of you who haven’t seen the trailer yet and are a little in the dark as to what “the new Daniel Day Lewis movie” is about I’ve youtubed it for your convenience.
The basic set up is self-titled “oil man” Daniel Plainview and his “partner”, only son H.W. (about 7 y/o) are told about a province rich in oil. The majority of the film takes place at this province, Little Boston. As I sit here trying to think about how to write this film’s plot overview I am suddenly struck by the realisation that there isn’t really that much of a plot. Its a really character driven (who would have guessed?) piece. It kind of has the feel of really well developed characters being put in a series of connected and unconnected situations and seeing what happens and where things end up. I know this is probably heresy to all those millions of critics who proclaim this film as brilliant – which it is – but not a great deal of plot happening.
The really interesting “plot” developments occur between the exchanges of Plainview and Eli Sunday, Little Boston’s protege evangelical minister (read: televangelist, without the tube).
>Daniel Day Lewis embodies Daniel Plainview. As fan-flamin’-tastic Day Lewis is, I can’t help feeling I thought he was so good in this because we’ve all been told he is so good in this (via reviews/awards/etc). Maybe I’m being too harsh on the greatest actor of his generation.
Paul Dano is Eli Sunday. Dano excels in this truly disturbing depiction of God’s anointed, I shudder to think where he did his research. If you’ve seen the trailer and the clip linked below (and especially if you are a Christian) Dano’s performance in these short clips should send shivers down your spine. I feel like I’ve seen aspects of Sunday in a few places in different “houses of God” over the years, however this is like those memories, but in my worst nightmares, and if I was on crack. “Overacted.” – That statement was made to me last night by one of my colleagues at the cinema. I think not, Dano’s just performing as the performer who is Eli Sunday. Dano shows he’s a great actor here, and can hold his own again you know who. But a part of me felt I was seeing Dwayne with a different haircut, a dated wardrobe, and a religion of church rather than Nietzsche. Am I wrong?
Dillon Freasier plays H.W. Plainview. This kid is too cute. But I feel somehow inadequate to judge his performance – its one of those that could go either way – its either genius or really bad. I’d like to err on the side of genius. (Freasier has no other credits on imdb except this film.)
Check this out and click on the “I have abandoned” clip just to the right of the screen that will come up.
Full on, eh?! I watched this clip before I saw the film and to the actors’ credit, the way you imagine the context of this scene within the whole film would be (through the acting of Day Lewis and Dano), is dead on.
WHY SHOULD YOU SEE THIS FILM? If the above clip doesn’t intrigue you enough, let me tell you more. The cinematography is gripping and awfully beautiful, the music is amazing – really new, really fresh, really different – possibly a bit too overwhelming at times but maybe that’s what they wanted. You know when music in films (or like, LOST) is just so in your face and makes you feel claustrophobic, horrified, squeamish and entranced at the same time. Yeah, be prepared.
WHO SHOULD YOU SEE IT WITH? Hmmm…. preferably someone who will want to dismantle it with you after. I don’t think I need to tell you not to take kids to a film with this title.
ANY BIT TO KNOW OF? Awe inspiring acting and music. Some rather strong themes – pertaining to twisted versions of Christianity – abound, as well as the odd unexpected bullet. Not much else.
Actually I didn’t really like this film, but I have to practice what I preach and judge it on whether it was good or bad. Its oh so good: THIS FILM GETS 4.5 GOLD STARS.