Tuesday, January 22, 2008

FILM REVIEW: "I have a competition in me. I want no one else to succeed. I hate most people. "

"Punch-Drunk Love" was a blast of emotionally raw images painted in pinks and blues with Adam Sandler mixing the delivery - I loved it and it was my favorite film of 2002. It was the last film from Paul Thomas Anderson - that uber flashy director prone to use f-bombs to lace his scenes and characters who linger on total depression and insanity. So when word emerged that Daniel Day Lewis and Anderson were teaming for a film - my interest was... well... HUUUUUUUUGE!!!!

Thus arrives "There Will Be Blood." For a write up and plot summary check here. Critics have been hailing the film as a groundbreaking instant classic - and of course I loved it as well.

Lewis does own the role of Daniel Plainview and dominates the film with his presence. Honestly, no one in the film stands a chance when this guy gets to chewing on the scenery... and sometimes that can be slightly detrimental... really though, this is nit-picking. Plainview is a fascinating man to watch morph into a frightening and ghastly monster, and Lewis does deserve every accolade he is getting.

Anderson's direction is again - brilliant. He moves the camera in unexpected and exciting ways, creates an astounding authenticity with the material and the time, cuts the film in a rhythmic form - yet allows important moments to play out completely... and finally, he hired Johnny Greenwood of Radiohead to do a score that... that... blows my mind. The symbiosis of image and music digs into my psyche in a way I did not expect - Greenwood deserves an Oscar (whatever that means)!!

Much has been made of the ending - critics alluding to the story failing the film - also that Lewis' performance derails... I disagree... with trepidation. I moved with the end of the film and found the final beats to be totally satisfying. The moments that did make me hiccup a bit were few - but present - Paul Dano's performance delivered 95% of the time... Lewis was allowed a little too much freedom in the final edit... and the film definitely is a downer.

But I like that.

Plainview's deterioration is fascinating to watch. Several of the scenes with his son, H.W. (played by youngster Dillon Freasier who impressed the hell out of me), really shocked me. Plainview is a real man who opens up to almost no one... but he cannot deny his ability to use everyone... even his son! The big trailer scene (the name of the post above) with his "brother" is a rare moment of honesty from the character and it is frightening to see what is really under the oil drenched demon.

In the end, "There Will Be Blood" does excite my film viewing mind. The images are startling and beautiful - Plainview and Lewis' portrayal is astoundingly interesting - Anderson's direction continues to blow my mind... and overall, the film truly is a disturbing masterpiece.

Dig it!

"There Will Be Blood" : A



Kern said...

Man, I gotta see this movie. I am so behind right now. Maybe I shouldn't have gone to see Cloverfield yesterday.

I'm such a bad cineaste!

Damfino said...

Kern you blew it - I hop'd on your site hoping to find a new WATCHIT!

Cloverfield any good?

Kern said...

The thing about Cloverfield is that it serves a very specific purpose. If you want a visceral experience that is akin to going on a guided thrill ride then it's a whole lot of fun. If you view it as a film looking for depth, there is a large chance you'd be disappointed.

There were many chances for allegorical exploration that were potentially squandered. As one of the CHUD guys mentioned it would have been awesome if it were aimed as more of a satire of people living in a removed state by thrusting a camera between themselves and real life in this age of YouTube and whatnot. Good clever fun for an hour, but not particularly substantial. Which can sometimes be good.

Damfino said...

Looking at it - that is exactly what I expected. I will probably see it for the experience and because my little brother wants to see it.

You must see;

No Country for Old Men
There Will Be Blood
Michael Clayton
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

Alexander said...

Of those the only ones I've seen are Zodiac and Juno. I hear Michael Clayton will be released again for theatre perusal and I think The Assassination of Jesse James... will be on DVD pretty soon. I wish I could have seen Tony Kaye's Lake of Fire to see if it would have been worthy for long form Doc and if it got snubbed. It looked amazing. He's certainly got a style.

Damfino said...

And an innate ability to shoot images of teeth and concrete curbs meeting.


Kern said...

That's true. Can't forget the curbfeeler from AHX.

I saw the trailer for Lake of Fire and it was visually arresting. He apparently worked on the doc for 15 years before releasing it!

(Not sure how many years were spent editing. Heard he's quite anal in the cutting process)