Monday, April 21, 2008

There Will Be Blood

Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood gives an intimate, revealing insight into Americanized capitalism, and the toll that greed and dishonor can have on people and relationships.

Independent silver miner Daniel Plainview shows dogged determination to make it big with his small mining outfit in early 20th century California, putting in long hours for little pay-off until he accidentally stumbles onto an oil well. Losing employees along the way to poor oversight or to dangerous conditions, Plainview, along with his adopted son, becomes wealthy in the oil biz by: (1) doing the job more quickly and effectively than others, and (2) lying, scamming and aggression.

Just like modern times!

Daniel Day-Lewis earned the Oscar he won for his portrayal of Plainview. His character is complex, and carries the movie. (In fact, he may well be in each and every scene.) The cinematography is the best I've seen since A River Runs Through It. The dialogue is rich and authentic, and the supporting actors perform well.

But I couldn't help noticing that as Plainview becomes wealthier, he becomes more vile. More paranoid, and withdrawn. Less human. His pursuit of wealth ultimately costs him far greater than the material rewards he reaped.

Just like modern times.

6 comments:

Charles said...

I went to this movie expecting to love it. I hated it. I hated the music, I hated the characters, I hated everything about it. Lewis is a great actor, but he overshodowed the story.

JDB said...

Heh - I loved the music, love the characters! I think it was my favorite "new" movie that I saw last year (er, very early this year).

moneytastesbad said...

I loved it too, though the music was a little...ummm...intense?


SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My wife hated it though. She kept saying, "Why did he kill him." I didnt really have an explanation for her. Also, I was confused about the part where he and his son part ways. I would have liked a little more explanation there.

The Film Geek said...

Hey Money: I hear ya. (And your wife.) I think his behavior--including both of those instances--was really an illustration of how intense and pervasive his greed and paranoia ran.

fishing guy said...

TFG: It seems we have a difference of opinion on the movie. I'm going to see it and try to see why.

JDB said...

Re: the music - it was (mostly) done by Johnny Greenwood of Radiohead fame, which I think explains the intensity.