Thursday, December 20, 2007

Intriguing but Flawed: There Will Be Blood

There Will Be Blood (Advance Screening)
Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
To be released December 26, 2007

This tale based on Upton Sinclair's 1927 book "Oil!" follows the story of a greedy but effective prospector looking to soak up as much oil as he can. Directed by the always inventive Paul Thomas Anderson, the film immediately captures the time but I personally had trouble really getting into it. It does not seem as blatantly offbeat as "Magnolia" or "Punch-Drunk Love", and maybe that is the problem. The breadth of the film is quite extensive, and too many notions introduced leave too many unanswered questions and confusions by film's end. There are certainly a few impressive scenes, but as a whole the film cannot quite come together. Daniel Day-Lewis could be placed in any time period and fit the part, and he is just as you might expect here, throwing himself wholeheartedly into the part. Paul Dano, on the other hand, a revelation in last year's "Little Miss Sunshine", feels miscast and speaks every word of his preacher's dialogue forcibly as if he is not certain he can effectively fit into the time period. The music is worth mentioning, as it is a bizarre concoction of instrumentals which is often reminiscent of "The Shining" and often just plain weird. This film has a lot to offer, but some pointless subplots and a poor third act drag it down. There is something to be said here, but everyone is thrown in and seeps out not quite as richly as seemingly intended.


Oscar chances: Day-Lewis has this one in the bag, at least for a nomination. I liked him better in "Gangs of New York", but this will certainly do. Paul Dano is completely out of the running, not that he ever should have been in. The cinematography, music, and director P.T. Anderson will all have to fight an uphill battle to be included, and I think the music has the best shot, though I still cannot say whether it will be included. As for Best Picture, I think the film will not make the cut (unless it wins the Golden Globe).


David said...

was daniel day lewis in sweeny todd? and i say no.

Anonymous said...

best picture. so beautiful. so well done. highly engrossing. i cant think of enough good things to say. best picture in my mind.