Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Movie Tuesday: There Will Be Blood

February, 2008, sitting at KCI awaiting my plane, then on to Denver and through to San Francisco (very fitting) , I viewed my favorite movie through the tiny screen of my Zune for the first time. At the recommendation of my boss/friend, he said it was a good movie, so I got it from Netflix and loaded it up for my trip. I had no idea what kind of movie awaited me, which is rare. I was surprised beyond belief. The movie strikes on all levels, writing, directing, locations, score, and above all else, offering Daniel Day Lewis a platform for providing his best performance, and in my opinion one of the best performances in a movie period. I was drawn into the history and the story of early oil prospectors. The story involves Daniel Plainview, a caricature of several oil men of the turn of the 20th century, and his journey from gold mining to being a highly successful oil man. Truly, the story is a hit because it echoes something that is important to me. No matter how much we can pursue something on this earth, we will always be empty. The fact that this man was filled only with beating everyone else, left him more empty than those around him. The leap I make is that you can’t find happiness and success without the Lord. One of the antagonists in the story is that of a charismatic religious figure, Eli. He also shows that religion and show can provide an equally empty life. The climax of the movie involves Daniel Plainview tricking Eli into saying that he is a false prophet and God is a superstition. Eli complies with the hope of financial gain, revealing his lack of faith. The dialogue of the movie and acting of Day Lewis is brilliant as we see Plainview’s emptiness get filled with a self admitted bitterness. In the end, he even ostracizes the only one that did love him. He also kills Eli as his own emptiness is mirrored in that of Eli, thus killing the part of himself he hates the most, but is tragically all that he has become. As a side note, this movie was written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, whose break through movie was Boogie Nights. This movie in use of language and adult subjects is the antithesis of Boogie Nights. This is a must watch movie.

6 comments:

Kansas Bob said...

Thx for the review JRC. I think I would have liked it better if it had been edited down a lot (2.5 hours just too long) and if there was at least one redeeming character in the whole movie.. just one.. even Plainview's adopted son came across bad in the end.. maybe Paul Thomas Anderson is a Calvinist.. those guys believe in TOTAL depravity :)

Alas, on this one we disagree.. yet we will always have Torino :)

Ekimmus said...

As your brother (Josh) I can't believe it took you so long to see this film, and I was sure you had. It clearly should have sweeped the Academy Awards in 2007. Daniel Day Lewis was at his lofty heights in this film. Your general review is similar to mine. However, I felt more rewarded in the dynamic psychological interactions between Daniel, the pasture, the false brother and the false son. Ultimately, it definitely feels like a religious parable. I thought Boogie Nights was a very compelling drama. That will be overlooked due to the subject matter, but equally important. There Will Be Blood is a movie I think is a must see, and eventually a timeless classic.

jrchaard said...

I saw it February 2008. I hadn't posted about it and after pressuring my friend Kansas Bob to watch it, he reviewed it and asked me to do the same. Shamefully, I enjoyed boogie nights because when you get past the subject matter, you see that it is likely an accurate portrayal of a group of people that Think they are stars, but are not and how diluded they were. The acting was pretty good. The reason I mention boogie nights is to show the contrast in how you can tell such a compelling story and not have to be over the top in language and lewdness.

Anonymous said...

too much blood

Kansas Bob said...

Another thing I didn't get was the movie title. Anyone know where it came from?

jrchaard said...

There are lots of meanings out there. Remember the hymn played during Daniel's Baptism. Daniel is washed in the baptism of oil. Whenever you hear about baptism, they always refer to it as "taking the blood". There is talk of the "blood of lambs". You can say that there will be blood shed in the founding of the industry. It just goes on and on.