Borderlands (Zev Berman, 2007): 6.5/10

The Magic Flute (Ingmar Bergman, 1975): 7/10

La Guerre Est Finie (Alain Resnais, 1966): 7/10

Speed Racer (The Wachowski Brothers, 2008): 8/10

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Friday, January 18, 2008

There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007)

I saw There Will Be Blood this past Sunday, but I've been hesitant to blog about it. Not that it was bad - completely the opposite. It's too good that I really can't say too much about it. The film deals with almost every single universal theme: greed, family, power, you name it. The only thing the film doesn't deal with in depth is romantic love, but unlike other male-centric films, this one doesn't suffer from the lack of female presence. Daniel Day-Lewis is Daniel Plainfield, turn of the century oil prospector who has a habit of coming into towns, sucking them dry, and not paying what he promised. The first fifteen minutes of the film, which some have compared to the beginning of 2001, are wordless and transcendant. Daniel, on his own, tries to mine oil, even falling down a shaft once, breaking his leg, and dragging himself back to civilization on his back. This is truly a man discovering a new world all for himself.

Skip forward 10 years, and Plainview is now a rich man with a real operation, trying to branch out to more communities. He meets Paul Sunday, who tells him about the oil on his family's land for $500. Plainview visits the Sunday ranch under the auspices of quail hunting, and meets the family, including burgeoning pastor Eli, twin of Paul (both played by Paul Dano). From there, the Sundays and the Plainviews are intertwined through tragedy and triumph, until the explosive ending. It would be a crime to spoil any of it for you, so I won't.

All I can really say is that Day-Lewis gives one of the best performances I have ever seen. In the latest issue of Rolling Stone, Peter Travers likens this performance to Orson Welles' in Citizen Kane, and while at first, I thought that was a little ridiculous, now I agree. Day-Lewis, like Welles before him, completely loses himself in the role, until you forget it's a movie at all. Here's one Academy Award that will certainly have been earned. But in all the deserved praise for Day-Lewis, almost no one has mentioned the also great performance of Paul Dano. He shows a great deal of growth from even Little Miss Sunshine, and I think, with a few more meaty roles like this, he could grow into one of the better actors of his generation.

Of course, I can't not mention PT Anderson's writing and direction. The movie is epically beautiful, and on account of the breathtaking, epic landscapes, I can't recommend seeing this on the big screen enough. This is Anderson's masterpiece -- I really can't praise it enough. After seeing the film, my friend and I were unable to make meaningful conversation for about half an hour - it's that powerful. It's definitely the best film of 2007, and probably the best film of the decades. See it!


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Comments on "There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007)"


Blogger anniemosity said ... (11:25 PM) : 

i just saw this movie tonight and went back to find your review of it. i couldn't have said any of it better myself. i mean, good god.


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