Tuesday, January 15, 2008
There Will Be Blood Will Swallow You Whole (2007)
Simply put, Paul Thomas Anderson’s new film There Will Be Blood is a masterpiece. Not in a personal favorite sense or a critically acclaimed sense (even though it is), There Will Be Blood transcends all immediate accolades and is a film that will still be known when filmmaking is as old as painting.
Based loosely on Upton Sinclair’s novel Oil! the film follows the path of Daniel Plainview (in a beyond perfect performance by Daniel Day-Lewis) on his quest for total domination of life itself. He has a son H.W. (played by Dillon Fraiser) who is merely a tool for Daniel to gain people’s good graces. Daniel constantly clashes with a young self-proclaimed prophet Eli Sunday (in a jaw-dropping performance by Paul Dano). These are the most important characters, but don’t get me wrong, every small part is pivotal in shaping the three main characters’ goals, feelings and movements.
There has never been a film as brutally absorbing as this one. I feel equally spent and revitalized while watching and Johnny Greenwood’s score follows the very terrible essence of our hearts.
I find it frightening that I want to be just like Daniel Plainview. He has so much power over all those around them and why shouldn’t he? “These people,” he proclaims, are just fools, ripe for the picking. If these people get some water and shelter what does it matter if he gets something out of it too? And that’s where There Will Be Blood’s truth reveals itself.
In this interesting character study and somewhat allegorical tirade on organized religion and capitalism we see so many terrible qualities that aren’t brought about by larger unseen forces, but the very tools we all operate on. It’s like Apocalypse Now on acid, a surreal and terrifying look at what makes us human. It’s an extreme vision we might not like, but we all secretly want.
There Will Be Blood on IMDB