Friday, February 22, 2008

'There Will Be Blood' should best 'em

I've been thinking and writing about this film for days, and my milkshake's empty.

You can read my thoughts about its social significance in Sunday's paper in an essay tentatively titled, "An oil man, an evangelist and the American way."

What do you think about this pic? Puzzling? Masterful? Controversial? Snoozer?

As passionately as my friends feel about "No Country for Old Men," I feel about "There Will Be Blood." You can listen to me and Chris Jay of the Robinson Film Center talk about the Oscars and these flicks today on Red River Radio at 4:44 p.m.

Buzz doesn't appear to favor my choice for top prize, but I personally believe "There Will Be Blood" has no equal for 2007.

What got me excited about this film was Manohla Dargis' review in The New York Times.

Here's a great excerpt: "With a story of and for our times, 'There Will Be Blood' can certainly be viewed through the smeary window that looks onto the larger world. It’s timeless and topical, general and specific, abstract and as plain as the name of its fiery oilman. It’s an origin story of sorts. The opening images of desert hills and a droning electronic chord allude to the beginning of '2001: A Space Odyssey,' whose murderous apes are part of a Darwinian continuum with Daniel Plainview. But the film is above all a consummate work of art, one that transcends the historically fraught context of its making, and its pleasures are unapologetically aesthetic. It reveals, excites, disturbs, provokes, but the window it opens is to human consciousness itself."

PHOTO: François Duhamel/Paramount Vantage.


Anonymous said...

Despite my choice for "NCFOM" as Best Picture, I will happily admit that "TWBB" could win and I would still be pleased. And, in my most humble of opinions, if there was to be an upset in the best pic category, then THIS is the flick to do it.

The one thing going against "TWBB" is its divisiveness. "Juno" caused arguments for being too generic, too unbelievable, and too hauty. "NCFOM" has its ending and the cold atmosphere going against it. "Atonement" has the been-there-done-that just-another-Bristish-period-piece thing. And "MC" has the Clooney issue. But "TWBB" has that unique beginning, the violent (though not always physically violent) persona, the tough dialogue, the surreal atmosphere, and its troubled ending to overcome.

Don't get me wrong. Those issues are what make "TWBB" a great film. But the flick has a lot of divisive points. Arguments are good. Debates are great. But the pure divisiveness of "TWBB" I feel is too strong. That, my friends, is why I give my vote to "NCFOM."

Now, I give all respect to Daniel Day-Lewis in this film. He is what a best actor looks like. I mean, wow. Just wow! And the script and directing by P.T. Anderson will give the Coen brothers a run for their money.

Finally, on a completely different note, I hope next year's Oscar race for best picture will include five flicks that don't need to be abbreviated. "TWBB," "MC," and "NCFOM" are almost too much! Why can't we have more titles like "Juno?" Be good you all!

Alexandyr Kent said...

Agree with you about this pic being a challenge for voters.

If you look at the issue of endings for the best pics, four of them have "troubled" endings to overcome.

"No Country" isn't explicitly resolved. "There Will Be Blood" ends in madness. "Michael Clayton" has a big twist and the longest cab ride since "Night on Earth." And "Atonement," though I believe is faithful to the book, is not what you call happy.

I'm just glad we're seeing directors and screenings who have the courage to tell stories like they need to be told.

But the best ending? You have to vote for "There Will Be Blood."

Danny said...

The last line of TWBB was...."I am finished."

What was the last line of NCFOM?

Baily said...

I left TWBB laughing in glee. Maybe that reveals way too much about my character, but I was so happy about the way that film ended.

This was another true cinematic experience. I rambled on and on about that under the NCFOM post, so I won't re-hash it here. Just suffice it to say, I really did love this film.

Daniel Day-Lewis should win best actor. What a phenomenal performance.

Also, I'm a little upset that Paul Dano got no mention at the Oscars this year. I thought he gave an outstanding performance.