There Will Be Blood: The Poll

There Will Be Blood: The Poll

****
20
47%
*** 1/2
12
28%
***
5
12%
** 1/2
2
5%
**
2
5%
* 1/2
0
No votes
*
2
5%
1/2 *
0
No votes
0
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 43

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Postby Akash » Wed Dec 12, 2007 9:18 pm

Here is the full review from Denby in the New Yorker. He also reviewed Juno and The Kite Runner in this piece, but I'm not including them here.

The New Yorker
The Current Cinema: Hard Life
David Denby
December 17th, 2007


Early in “There Will Be Blood,” an enthralling and powerfully eccentric American epic (opening on December 26th), Daniel Plainview climbs down a ladder at his small silver mine. A rung breaks, and Daniel (Daniel Day-Lewis) falls to the base of the shaft and smashes his leg. He’s filthy, miserable, gasping for breath and life. The year is 1898. Two and a half hours later (and more than thirty years later in the time span of the film), he’s on the floor again, this time sitting on a polished bowling lane in the basement of an enormous mansion that he has built on the Pacific Coast. Having abandoned silver mining for oil, Daniel has become one of the wealthiest tycoons in Southern California. Yet he’s still filthy, with dirty hands and a face that glistens from too much oil raining down on him—it looks as if oil were seeping from his pores. The experience chronicled between these two moments is as astounding in its emotional force and as haunting and mysterious as anything seen in American movies in recent years. I’m not quite sure how it happened, but after making “Magnolia” (1999) and “Punch-Drunk Love” (2002)—skillful but whimsical movies, with many whims that went nowhere—the young writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson has now done work that bears comparison to the greatest achievements of Griffith and Ford. The movie is a loose adaptation of Upton Sinclair’s 1927 novel “Oil!,” but Anderson has taken Sinclair’s bluff, genial oilman and turned him into a demonic character who bears more than a passing resemblance to Melville’s Ahab. Stumping around on that bad leg, which was never properly set, Daniel Plainview—obsessed, brilliant, both warm-hearted and vicious—has Ahab’s egotism and command. As for Daniel Day-Lewis, his performance makes one think of Laurence Olivier at his most physically and spiritually audacious.

At the start, Daniel and a small group of workers, wildcatting for oil, give themselves entirely to their perilous labor. There isn’t a word of dialogue. Again and again, Anderson creates raptly muscular passages—men lifting, hauling, pounding, dragging, working silently in the muck and viscous slime. Yet this film is hardly the kind of glory-of-industry documentary that bored us in school. “There Will Be Blood” is about the driving force of capitalism as it both creates and destroys the future, and the film’s tone is at once elated and sickened. A dissonant, ominous electronic wail, written by the Radiohead guitarist and composer Jonny Greenwood, warns us of trouble ahead. Once the derricks are up, Greenwood imitates the rhythmic thud of the drill bits and pumps with bustling passages of plucked strings and pounding sticks. “Blood” has the pulse of the future in its rhythms. Like the most elegiac Western, this movie is about the vanishing American frontier. The thrown-together buildings look scraggly and unkempt, the homesteaders are modest, stubborn, and reticent, but, in their undreamed-of future, Wal-Mart is on the way. Anderson, working with the cinematographer Robert Elswit, has become a master of the long tracking shot across still, empty landscapes. The movie, which cost a relatively cheap twenty-five million dollars to make, has gravity and weight without pomp; it’s austerely magnificent, and, when violence comes—an exploding oil well, a fight—it’s staged cleanly, in open space, and not as a tumult of digital effects or a tempest in an editing room.

One of the workers holds and kisses a baby, then dies in an accident, and Daniel raises the child, whom he calls H.W. (Dillon Freasier), as his son and partner. The movie skips to 1911, when Daniel and H.W. are travelling around California in a tin lizzie, buying up land leases, at bargain rates, from ranchers and farmers who are sitting on underground oceans of gold. Daniel takes advantage of their ignorance to pay them less than they deserve, and, as he addresses a group of them, Day-Lewis’s performance comes into focus. He lowers his chin slightly, and his dark eyes dance with merriment as he speaks in coarse yet rounded tones, the syllables precisely articulated but with a lengthening of the vowels and final consonants that gives the talk a singing, almost caressing quality. It is the voice of dominating commercial logic—an American force of nature. Day-Lewis, at fifty, is lean and fit, and his scythe-like body cuts into the air as he works or stalks, head thrust out, across a field. Much of the time, he projects a wonderful gaiety, but his Daniel never strays from business. He ignores questions, reveals nothing, and masters every encounter with either charm or a threat. He has no wife, no friends, and no interests except for oil, his son, and booze. He drinks heavily, which exacerbates his natural distrust and competitiveness. Even when he’s swimming in the Pacific, he looks dangerous. In his later years, however, Daniel disintegrates, and the iconic associations shift from Ahab to Charles Foster Kane.

Upton Sinclair was a longtime socialist, yet he understood that nothing in American life was more exhilarating than entrepreneurial energy and ruthlessness. The movie retains the novel’s exuberance, but turns much darker in tone. H.W. becomes a victim of the oil rush, and Anderson drops Sinclair’s moral hero, a Communist who organizes the oil workers. Sinclair was a reformer who wanted to ameliorate the harsh effects of capitalism, but Anderson apparently reasoned that social radicalism did not—and could not—stop men like Daniel Plainview. Sinclair, the garrulous, fact-bound literalist, has been superseded by a film poet with a pessimistic, even apocalyptic, streak.

But Anderson does retain Sinclair’s portrait of an unctuous young man who thinks he has the word of God within him: Eli Sunday (Paul Dano), who creates, in the oil fields, the revivalist Church of the Third Revelation. Dano, who was the silent, philosophy-reading boy in “Little Miss Sunshine,” has a tiny mouth and dead eyes. He looks like a mushroom on a long stem, and he talks with a humble piety that gives way, in church, to a strangled cry of ecstatic fervor. He’s repulsive yet electrifying. Anderson has set up a kind of allegory of American development in which two overwhelming forces—entrepreneurial capitalism and evangelism—both operate on the border of fraudulence; together, they will build Southern California, though the two men representing them are so belligerent that they fall into combat. The movie becomes an increasingly violent (and comical) struggle in which each man humiliates the other, leading to the murderous final scene, which gushes as far over the top as one of Daniel’s wells. The scene is a mistake, but I think I know why it happened. Anderson started out as an independent filmmaker, with “Hard Eight” (1996) and “Boogie Nights” (1997). In “Blood,” he has taken on central American themes and established a style of prodigious grandeur. Yet some part of him must have rebelled against canonization. The last scene is a blast of defiance—or perhaps of despair. But, like almost everything else in the movie, it’s astonishing.
http://www.newyorker.com/arts....a_denby

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Postby cam » Wed Dec 12, 2007 7:53 pm

from David Denby's lengthy review in New Yorker of There Will Be Blood:
1) "...I'm not quite sure how it happened... Anderson has now done work that bears comparison to the greatest achevements of Griffith and Ford."
2) [Danel-Day Lewis's] performance makes one think of Laurence Olivier at his most physically and spritiually audacious."
3) Paul Dano"looks like a mushroom on a long stem"...he's repulsve yet electrifying."

Of Juno: "terrifically comedy writer Diablo Cody"

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Postby Sabin » Wed Dec 12, 2007 1:49 am

I will be relatively brief...

For me, 2007 will be the year of "The Gospel Five". The five American movies that spoke such volumes about how we choose to live our lives that I am incapable of being rational or level-headed in my evaluation. How do we live our lives in a world of evil? How does one go about wanting something that may or may not be there? How much should I resist what others perceive me to be? What should I give up and what should I keep? They're masterpieces. 'No Country for Old Men' by the Coen Bothers. 'Into the Wild' by Sean Penn. 'I'm Not There' by Todd Haynes. 'The Assassination of Jesse James' by Andrew Dominik (and the Coward Robert Ford).

And then there's 'There Will Be Blood' which is a statement, not a question, in its rhetoric nature: What is evil if not the all-consumed?

By the end of 'There Will Be Blood', that's what's there. The nature of the evil. That which cannot allow anything else in, yet it's such a dazzling portrayal of a gruesomely consumed man that mirrors the advent of the American stranglehold on the world that I'm inclined to forgive its limited arc. Considering that 'There Will Be Blood' demonstrates a mastery over the sheer form of how we tell visual stories, this is not a difficult concession. The movie does not have a lag moment and successfully pares down Paul Thomas Anderson's admittedly overwhelming histrionics (I'm at the point where I don't think 'Magnolia' is about anything other than whip pans.) into a classical manner of shooting that is probably the strongest filmmaking he's ever done. Robert Elswitt will win the Oscar and, although for me this year is all about 'The Assassination of Jesse James', it will not be undeserved. It's absolutely flawless and knows exactly what to do with Daniel Day-Lewis in the frame, reflecting his tunnel vision in relation to the world around him at all times, as does Johnny Greenwood's discordant stringing.

Right now, I can't see anything lacking in "just" the preceding, and yet in the wake of the profundity of the aforementioned four entries in my canon of 2007, I can't help but wonder if rhetoric is enough. This is a movie I will have to sit with for some time before I can dream of pigeonholing.
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Postby Sonic Youth » Mon Nov 19, 2007 4:56 pm

There Will Be Blood
David D'Arcy in New York
19 Nov 2007 17:01
Screendaily



Dir: Paul Thomas Anderson US, 2007. 158mins


There Will Be Blood is a vivid, sprawling parable about greed and moral corrosion. Set in the majestic American Southwest circa 1900, Paul Thomas Anderson's fim will ride to the box-office largely on Daniel Day Lewis's volcanic performance as Daniel Plainview, the monstrous rags-to-riches oil-man. The film's title foretells a trail of bodies and damaged souls in the revaged landscape, quoting the Bible and referencing the history of epic cinema

Expect a chorus of critics calling for an Oscar nomination to bring in the audience, even though Day-Lewis is not a box office perennial, and certainly no star for the public under thirty. As an anti-western that shuns Hollywood romance in its drama and landscape, There Will Be Blood should play well in Europe and Japan, given its many unstated parallels to today's political and moral dilemmas.

Anderson's film joins a long line of moral dramas about the allure of riches and the corruptibility of Americans in the stampede to accumulate wealth. Based loosely on Upton Sinclair's 1927 novel, Oil!, it evokes the race for gold in John Huston's 1948 The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. It also calls the mind the exploitation of the desert in Giant (1956) and Billy Wilder's Ace in the Hole (1951), and, like Citizen Kane (1941), it culminates in the wretched gilded loneliness of a friendless tycoon.

You won't find nostalgia in this period film. Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood's dirge of a score stifles any sentimentality Robert Elswit's camera chafes uncomfortably against the rocks, mud, and constant danger of jerry-built drilling rigs that kill far more people than Indians or gunslingers in this western. The fatal accidents, one of which disables the Plainview's young son, are as frightening as anything in a horror movie.

Elswit's wide shots, which borrow from period photographs, remind you that these romanticized frontier settlements were grimy huddles of shacks The production design by Jack Fisk captures the austerity and fragility of that life, which made dirt-poor evangelical farmers all the more susceptible to the shameless pitch of a salesman like Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis).

Lewis's creation of this predatory entrepeneur is a tactile reality check on the gilded age of the robber barons. Lewis also takes the role beyond reality, with a groaning voice that can charm frontier innocents and, like an Old Testament prophet, batter a crowd into submission. He draws on John Huston's monstrous example as the tyrannical patriarch in Chinatown (1974), a parable about a murderous struggle to control water and build a legacy in burgeoning Los Angeles.

Lewis's low roar borders on the quirky, as a similar vocal effect did in Gangs of New York (2002). It's an odd attribute, like the foppish hair of the cold-blooded killer played by Javier Bardem in the Coen Brothers' No Country for Old Men (shot in similar terrain across the New Mexico border from Marfa, Texas, where Anderson filmed.)

To Anderson's credit, neither the characters nor the performances aim for likeability. Among the few who defy Daniel Plainview is Eli Sunday (played with chilling authority by Paul Dano), a zealous boy preacher who bargains with the wild-catter to bankroll a church atop the oil patch, where Eli conducts raging exorcisms. Eli proves to be as calaculating, greedy and merciless as the prospector, and ultimately corruptible. Close you eyes, and you hear the voice of America's Christian Right – probably no coincidence.

The closest thing to a sympathetic character is Plainview's young son, H.W. (newcomer Dillon Freasier). Raised to be a partner, he is deafened by a rig explosion and eventually rejects the business, thwarting his father's goal to create a dynasty beyond the grave.

The fatalistic implications of fights and uncontrollable fires in the desert (a parallel to Iraq?) and the sacrifice of one's first-born for oil won't be missed by the audience that reads about wars in oil-rich regions today.

Sinclair's novel about the oil boom of the early 1900's was published in 1927, just two years before Wall Street would crumble under the weight of frenzied speculation. There Will Be Blood is another warning that greed and the arrogant use of power have their consequences.

The acting in the film is so gestural that sub-titles are barely necessary, which should help in foreign markets.
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Postby rolotomasi99 » Tue Nov 06, 2007 3:31 pm

Jeffrey Wells
Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood is one of those legendary, go-for-broke, fiercely psychological big-canvas art movies that you need to see twice -- the first time to go "whoa!" and recoil and get all shaken up and bothered about, and the second time so you can reconsider and see what a masterwork it is, despite your feelings about the malignant emotional content. If you're a film maven of any kind you can't let your piddly emotions get in the way of recognizing diseased greatness.
Daniel Day Lewis's portrayal of the remarkable Daniel Plainview -- a driven, increasingly manic and misanthropic oilman who builds an empire in the early 20th Century -- is historic. It's one of the most riveting and demonically possessed performances ever put to film -- more feverish than any monster played by Lon Chaney or Boris Karloff or Bela Lugosi -- and yet human and vulnerable-seem- ing enough to stir a certain recognition. He's playing John Huston, after all, by way of Noah Cross. Or is it vice versa?.
Plainvew is a Count Dracula who spews oil rather than sucks blood. He's starts out as a hard-working miner, then a tough businessman, then a religion-hating misanthrope, then a father who abandons his son, and finally a full-out fiend.
Lewis has a Best Actor Oscar nomination in the bag, of course, but the moral matter of what he and Anderson have brought into the world may give pause to some.
I'm imagining Anderson and Lewis holding a miniature infant version of Daniel Plainview in baby blankets, fresh out of the womb and wet with afterbirth and yet adultly proportioned (as he is in the film), and saying to us all, "Come see our child! He's a monster, no question, but he came from our ribs and our souls and we love him...God help us but we do. We realize you can't love him -- he's not constructed that way -- but can you respect him at least? Can you at least see that he's where some of us -- perhaps more than a few of us -- have come from? Or is a person that, God help us, some of us may actually be?"
No one in the world will argue that the musical score by Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood isn't a major mind-bender. It's boldly intrusive, brassy and manic, pushy, crazy-man symphonic. It expresses Plainview's psychological state, of course, but it's also a character unto itself. It keeps saying "listen to me...no, no, listen to me!" And you do, and you can't help but think and think about it afterward. It's a guaranteed Oscar nominee.
I really don't know what to say about Blood's chances of being Oscar-nominated for Best Film, or Anderson's for Best Film or Adapted Screenplay (based as it is on Upton Sinclair's "Oil!"). My first reaction was that it's too cold for the Academy types to embrace it, but I'm starting to wonder. I really don't know if my first reac- tion is the one to trust or the reaction I'm feeling now, having seen it a second time last night at San Francisco's Castro theatre with a huge crowd, and admired it all the more.
"Does it have a chance of being named Best Picture by a critics group?," I wrote a week and a half ago. "Conceivably. Does it have a chance in hell of being nominated for Best Picture by the Academy? I really doubt this. A film this black and misanthropic has never played with the Academy. Compared to Anderson's film, No County for Old Men is a fairly gentle and kind-hearted thing, at least in terms of Tommy Lee Jones' lawman character.
I was wowed but mixed after seeing There Will Be Blood on 10.25. There was no question I'd just seen a masterfully well-honed psychodrama about a two-pronged figure -- a snarly, self-made oil tycoon and a creature from the black lagoon -- in early 20th Century California.
I also knew this was a powerfully convincing portrait of what a rough, backbreaking thing it was to get oil out of the ground 80 and 90 years ago, and a seriously strange but fascinating look at the primal influences of big oil and evangelical Christianity -- religions that obviously still prosper today.
It was also clear there was a strong, somewhat plagued psychological engine at its center. I'm speaking principally of Anderson's sardonic, dark-leaning world view (portions of Punch Drunk Love aside) and, I strongly suspect, his feelings about his late father, big-time announcer Ernie Anderson, who was allegedly a fierce personality with very dark leanings himself.
People are going to be talking about There Will Be Blood's closing line -- "I'm finished" -- for a long time to come. As well as those first 15 or 20 minutes of dialogue-free story-telling and atmosphere absorption. It's obviously a work of a first-rate filmmaker delivering a very high-end art epic, at times stunningly so.
There is nothing but realism in There Will be Blood -- there isn't a fake line or moment in the entire 2 hours and 38 minutes -- but it's also an embodiment of a very creepy psychology. Black as night, black as oil, blacker than the bottom of a sealed-up well. My girlfriend hated it. The thought occured to me during the first screening that it's probably going to make as much as The Assassination of Jesse James...if that.
I respect this film enormously. I admire each and every part. But it leaves you with nothing but the taste of bile in your mouth at the end. Bile and ashes that you want to spit on the pavement as you're heading out to the parking lot, and at the same time you want to keep with you because they came from a strong and penetrating film.
The day after first seeing it I wrote that Anderson "has a heart of darkness inside him that would make Joseph Conrad tremble and turn pale. I don't know anything, but There Will Be Blood doesn't seem like a movie for audiences to watch and delight in as much as a therapy session for Paul to work out his rage and anger at Ernie."
Lewis's "Bill the Butcher" in Gangs of New York was a grand guignol psychopath, but Plainview is even more diseased as he lets no light in whatsoever. No gentleness, humor or warmth (except for the love he shows his young adopted son during the first hour). A shrewd survivor, but consumed by utter greed and calculation. A man looking for love and loyalty, and yet ready to kill or abandon those he feels have betrayed him or let him down. Not a character as much as a kind of demonic force of nature.
A week and a half ago I wrote "there is no way -- no way in hell -- that rank-and-file Academy members are going to embrace this performance, forceful and amazingly intense as it is, enough for Lewis to win. I support his being nominated because I know what great acting is, but no way in hell does he win. Forget it." Now I don't know. Last night's viewing turned me around somewhat. I feel less emotional and more sure of the greatness at work here.
Within its own heavily male, oil-soaked, organized religion-hating, misanthropic realm, There Will Be Blood is brilliant.
But (and I'm talking about the first viewing, not the second) it's about as hateful as a quality film can be -- hateful in that there's no one to care about except for the young son (and his adult incarnation at the end), and not that much to think about. Most women viewers will probably despise it, and yet it's easily one of the year's best made films.
I haven't mentioned the fall-on-your-knees quality of Robert Elswit's widescreen cinematography or Jack Fisk's production design. I'll get into the other fine performances by Paul Dano, Ciaran Hinds, Dillon Freasier and Kevin J. O'Connor down the road. It's primarily a Lewis show from start to finish, and it's hard to focus elsewhere for the time being.
Anderson is saying, I think, "Don't let yourself be like this guy....but if you are like this guy, don't turn to religion to cure your ills because God is a foolish superstition, and religions are run by money-grubbing hypocrites."
There Will Be Blood is a cautionary tale -- beware of the Daniel Plainviews in your life, and the ones living inside you. Is it worth two hours and 38 minutes of experiencing a seething misanthropic cauldron to absorb this message? Yes, it's worth it...definitely. It passes along a kind of insanity, but it does so with absolute greatness.
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Postby Big Magilla » Thu Nov 01, 2007 9:59 pm

Nice to see the always reliable but usually ignored Kevin J. O'Connor getting such strong recognition.
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Postby Sonic Youth » Thu Nov 01, 2007 6:07 pm

Take this for what you will. (Watch for spoilers.)

There Will Be Blood

By TODD MCCARTHY
Variety


Boldly and magnificently strange, "There Will Be Blood" marks a significant departure in the work of Paul Thomas Anderson. Heretofore fixated on his native Los Angeles and most celebrated for his contempo ensemblers, writer-helmer this time branches out with an intense, increasingly insidious character study of a turn-of-the-century central California oil man. There's no getting around the fact that this Paramount Vantage/Miramax co-venture reps yet another 2½--hour-plus indie-flavored, male-centric American art film, a species that has recently proven difficult to market to more than rarefied audiences. Distribs will have to roll the dice and use hoped-for kudos for the film and its superb star Daniel Day-Lewis to create the impression of a must-see.

Officially penning an adaptation for the first time, Anderson turns out to have been inspired very loosely indeed by his source, Upton Sinclair's 1927 novel "Oil!" Pic betrays little of the tome's overview and virtually none of socialist Sinclair's muckraking instincts. Instead, it is more interested in language, in the twinned aspects of industry and religion on the landscape of American progress and, above all, in creating an obsessive, almost microscopically observed study of an extreme sociopath who determinedly destroys his ties to other human beings.

Notwithstanding its passing resemblance to "Citizen Kane," this theme is an odd one on which to build a big movie, especially in view of the extreme manner in which it ends; one can only guess at Anderson's personal reasons for dwelling on it with such unremitting fervor. But his commitment to going all the way must be respected in the face of conventional commercial considerations. Day-Lewis' Daniel Plainview is a profoundly anti-social fellow, malevolently so, and "There Will Be Blood" devotes itself to scratching, peeling and digging away at a man determined to divest himself of his past and everyone associated with it.

Foregrounded by an electronic sound that soars to an almost unbearable pitch, the first 15 minutes unfold with essentially no dialogue, as Daniel, in 1898, digs laboriously for silver and gold, then moves into oil. By 1911, he is a man of some means and has a son, although no wife. Tipped off about the abundance of oil in a rural area, and about Standard Oil's activities thereabouts, Daniel visits the farm of the pious Sunday family on false pretenses, obtains drilling rights at a bargain rate and immediately constructs the derricks on the property that will make his fortune.

Notably distinguishing the film during this initial stretch are its fulsome physicality, its linguistic distinction and the extraordinary originality of the musical score. Filmed around Marfa, Texas (where both "Giant" and "No Country for Old Men" were shot), pic presents a vivid, visceral account of the risky and sometimes dangerous labor it took to summon up black gold. With its functional, makeshift buildings and scattered equipment lending the parched landscapes a scarred beauty, Jack Fisk's production design indelibly brings to life the evocative photographs that exist of such industrial communities, and Robert Elswit's lensing captures it all with strong widescreen compositions and muscular camera moves.

More striking, however, is the nature of the language. Day-Lewis may well have used John Huston as a vocal model for his line deliveries, and it may not be farfetched to suggest that Plainview reps a younger incarnation of Huston's memorably corrupt tycoon Noah Cross in "Chinatown." Beyond such a comparison, however, lies Anderson's remarkable achievement in creating dialogue marked by different cadences than we're accustomed to today, with heightened formality, clarity and precision that lend it a slightly theatrical quality rooted in the 19th century. The unashamedly declarative talk, set against the backdrop of an America quickly transforming from rural to industrial, brings to mind a bracing fusion of Eugene O'Neill and John Dos Passos.

On top of these elements is the sweeping, surging, constantly surprising score by Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood, which could be described as avant-garde symphonic. It develops over long, sustained periods, not always in precise emotional alignment with what's taking place onscreen, but generally deepening and making more mysterious the film's moods and meanings. It's a daring, adventurous, exploratory piece of work, one that on its own signals the picture's seriousness.

From the outset, when Daniel suffers a leg injury, a sense of foreboding exists that, in concert with the title, promises worse to come. Accidents take place on the job, notably one in which Daniel's son H.W. (the marvelous Dillon Freasier), now about 10, loses his hearing. Until now very close to his father, the newly impaired H.W. is soon heartlessly banished by Daniel.

Further disturbing developments involve Eli Sunday (Paul Dano), the son of the landowner Daniel took advantage of. A young, charismatic evangelist, Eli builds a considerable congregation of staunch believers in Daniel's midst, and while Daniel pays lip service to the community, he clearly views Eli's activities with contempt.

Then there's the arrival of Henry (Kevin J. O'Connor), a derelict who claims to be Daniel's half-brother and informs him their father has recently died. A jailbird and vagabond, Henry wants nothing but a menial job. Daniel takes him in, and eventually confides his radically misanthropic views to him as he does to no one else.

"I hate people," Daniel bluntly admits. "I want to earn enough money so I can get away from everyone." It's an ambition money can facilitate, but not before a terrible crime is committed and Daniel launches a one-man war against Standard Oil that involves acquiring more land to build an oil pipeline to the sea.

Drama's final 25 minutes play out in 1927, with an ultimate reckoning among Daniel, now crazy as a loon and living in Kane-like isolation, Eli and the now-grown H.W. Visually and dramatically, the final scene is a jaw-dropper, one that fits with what has come before but may still leave even partisan viewers a bit flummoxed.

The film's zealous interest in a man so alienated from his brethren can be alternately read as a work abnormally fascinated by cold, antisocial behavior, or as a deeply humanistic tract on the wages of misanthropy. Either way, Anderson has embraced his study of a malign man intimately, as has Day-Lewis, who, as always, seems so completely absorbed in his role that it's difficult to imagine him emerging between takes as just an actor playing a part. Daniel is a man who will stop at nothing to achieve the unnatural state of becoming an island onto himself, and Day-Lewis makes him his own.

Entire cast looks to have stepped out of a photo album from a century ago. Bulky but cherubic-faced, Dano ("Little Miss Sunshine") ranges from politely deferential to frothingly enraptured in a powerful performance as the young man of God, while O'Connor quietly rivets as a lifelong unfortunate. Pic could have used a developed sequence or two to establish the relationship between Daniel and his right-hand man, a role in which the imposing Ciaran Hinds gets short shrift. By contrast, numerous other supporting players have at least one scene in which they can shine. Women count for nothing in Daniel's rough and rugged world.

On a craft and technical level, the film is of the highest quality, not least in the sound department, where the mix is exceedingly complex and expressive.
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Postby rolotomasi99 » Mon Oct 01, 2007 11:35 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ml2Ae2SIXac

people might have already seen this, but here is the incredible trailer to this incredible looking movie.
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Postby Big Magilla » Sun Sep 30, 2007 8:14 am

And from Cinematical (AOL, Moviefone)

Fantastic Fest Review: There Will Be Blood
Posted Sep 28th 2007 9:02AM by Scott Weinberg
Filed under: Drama, Paramount, Theatrical Reviews, Fantastic Fest


Oh sure, we've got Paul Thomas Anderson all figured out by now. After four very fine films -- Hard Eight, Boogie Nights, Magnolia and Punch-Drunk Love -- we've surely got the filmmaker's number by now: He makes strangely sweet and slyly witty ensemble pieces, right? So then what's he doing making an adaptation of Upton Sinclair's massive tome Oil!? A straight-faced period piece in which the most recognizable names are Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Dano? This is not what we've come to expect from good ol' Paul T. Anderson!

And I suppose that's what makes the director's There Will Be Blood such a stunning surprise. It's more than a "departure" for the director; it's a monumental display of "evolution" that'll wow the established fans and impress a helluva lot more new ones. This is a dark, compelling and effortlessly engrossing film, one bolstered by a lead performance that ranks among the very best of Mr. Day-Lewis' impressive career.

The film will most often be compared to Orson Welles' Citizen Kane, so I guess I can get the ball rolling on that particular crutch -- but it's also an apt comparison. Which is not to say that There Will Be Blood will necessarily be dissected and revered 75 years from now, but the stories are certainly similar enough. Anderson's film opens with a long passage of dialog-free footage: A lone man hacks his way through a mine using a pick-ax and some dynamite. The year is 1898, and Daniel Plainview is about to become an oil man. We witness the man's unwavering resolve as he pulls himself from a vertical shaft after breaking his leg in a fall -- and if you think that accomplishment displayed some tenacity ... just wait.

The 160-minute film covers Plainview's journey from rock-scratcher to oil tycoon as it runs over the course of 29 years. And while it might come as no surprise to learn that Plainview loses more of his soul with every package of professional success, the way in which this potentially predictable story unfolds is nothing short of hypnotic. Although our hero(?) struggles through numerous adversities and obstacles, his main combatant comes in the form of a young preacher named Eli Sunday (Paul Dano). The young man seems to be well-aware of Plainview's rather mercenary approach to the oil game, so when the two butt heads over the oil beneath the Sundays' soil -- their battle of wills becomes some sort of epic clash: The rise of wealth and industry versus the sanctity of religion and faith.

Only ... the wealthy industrialist is kind of a crook -- and the preacher is sort of a schemer. So already we're dealing with conflicts, contradictions and a supremely satisfying sense of ambiguity. We should be rooting against the businessman, but we don't. And although it seems logical to side with the aspiring young preacher, there's something about the kid we just don't like. So what I'm basically saying is this: There Will Be Blood boasts one hell of a fantastic screenplay.

And gosh what a beautiful film to look at. The turn-of-the-century Texas landscape has rarely looked this, well, real, and Anderson paints his canvas with some masterful strokes. The establishing shot that introduces the central town is nothing short of stunning, and there are numerous sequences that simply dazzle the eye. Cinematographer Robert Elswit -- a frequent PTA collaborator -- should be preparing his "it's an honor just to be nominated" speech right now. And the musical score by Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood is more than a separate character in the film; the stunning score feels more like an aural Greek chorus.

Which brings us to the lead performance by the force of nature known as Daniel Day-Lewis. One could call his Plainview a cross between Charles Foster Kane and Al Swearengen: Driven to succeed, willing to cast aside anyone who becomes a liability, brutal yet human, undeniable nasty yet somehow worthy of some empathy. And Mr. Lewis delivers an anchor of a performance that's as multi-faceted as it is simply plain old entertaining. And I hate to overuse the Oscar predictions, but if there's a better 2007 lead performance ... I'd simply love to see it.

Easily one of the year's best films (so far), There Will Be Blood presents a side of Paul Thomas Anderson that we haven't really seen yet -- but it's proof positive that he's still one of the finest directors out there right now. You probably won't believe that this film came from the same man who directed (the awesome) Boogie Nights, and I mean that as a big compliment. It's just that different -- and just that damned good.
“‎Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.” - Voltaire

Big Magilla
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Postby Big Magilla » Sun Sep 30, 2007 8:01 am

Here's Variety take:

"There Will Be Blood" rivals "Giant"; Day-Lewis brilliant

by Marjorie Baumgarten
The secret closing-night film of Fantastic Fest 3 in Austin, Texas, on Thursday night turned out to be the first public screening of Paul Thomas Anderson's "There Will Be Blood." Certain to be rewarded with year-end accolades, Anderson's film is a true American saga - one that rivals "Giant" and "Citizen Kane" in our popular lore as origin stories about how we came to be the people we are. In "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre," it's not the gold that destroys men's souls but greed; in "There Will Be Blood," the commodity that drives the greed is oil.

Anderson was in attendance and answered a few questions following the screening. The film, which is based on Upton Sinclair's Oil!, really only uses "about the first 150 pages of the novel," according to Anderson. "The book goes on to Hollywood and Washington" and was just too expansive for his purposes, though he said that those opening chapters contained Sinclair's clear descriptions of the workings of the derricks and the precipitous moods that hung over communities that were about to sell their land to the oil prospectors. These are images that are also conveyed vividly in the film. Additionally, Anderson's usual mix of stunning landscape shots and long takes blend with his close-up scrutiny of the hidden meanings of faces and comportment.

Daniel Day-Lewis is at his brilliant best as the story's Daniel Plainview, a man whose humanity diminishes as his fortunes increase. Never an exemplar of human kindness, Plainview becomes truly monstrous by film's end. Spanning three decades from 1898 to 1927, the approximately two hour and 40-minute film begins and ends with Plainview as a solitary figure. In fact, the first 15 minutes pass without any dialogue. Community is merely a useful tool for getting what Plainview wants and needs. Another constant nuisance is religion and false piety, represented by the character, Eli Sunday, played by Paul Dano. That the film stars none of the director's recurring repertory of actors is another intriguing element that lends a fresh sense to the undertaking.

Essential to the success of the movie is the original score by Jonny Greenwood, the Radiohead guitarist and BBC composer in residence. In addition to some uniquely haunting orchestral arrangements, there's this insistent string motif that sounds like the buzzing of an insect inside one's head, a sound that grows louder and more unavoidably distressing whenever soulless events are about to occur. Greenwood's astonishing score is sure to be one of the most remarked-on aspects of the movie.

"There Will Be Blood" was indeed an unusual choice to close out this year's Fantastic Fest, as Alamo Drafthouse Cinema founder and host Tim League was the first to admit. Though the film hardly belongs to the science fiction, fantasy, animation, and crime genres that attendees had been snacking on all week, League attested in his introduction that the film is undeniably "fantastic." League met Anderson this summer when the Drafthouse's Rolling Roadshow hosted an outdoor screening of "Boogie Nights" in the L.A. area and the director made a surprise appearance. The two became fast friends, which led to the Fantastic Fest screening. However, it took Ain't It Cool News' Harry Knowles to point out during the Q&A that Plainview was the "best monster" he had seen all week. Anderson responded that Dracula was in his thoughts as he was writing the screenplay. "There Will Be Blood" indeed.
“‎Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.” - Voltaire

Sabin
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Postby Sabin » Sat Sep 29, 2007 4:42 pm

I'm fairly optimistic. To this day, I'm rather surprised that 'Boogie Nights' didn't do better at the Oscars. R-rated material aside, it would seem to lend itself better to the Director's Branch than Peter Cattaneo.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

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Postby Mister Tee » Sat Sep 29, 2007 3:13 pm

From Hollywood Reporter; obscure critic. But word around the sites (Poland, Wells) is hyperbolic, to put it mildly.

By John DeFore
AUSTIN -- Both an epic and a miniature, Paul Thomas Anderson's "There Will Be Blood" uses the fewest possible brush strokes, spread across a vast canvas, to paint a portrait of greed at the beginning of the American century. Built around another powerhouse performance by Daniel Day-Lewis, it's a certain awards contender and will be a strong draw for serious moviegoers.

Partially shot in Marfa, Texas, and stretching across three decades -- just enough time for an infant to rise up and defy his father -- it begs comparison to another Marfa production, "Giant." "Blood" has none of that film's melodramatic sprawl, though. Instead, it pares allegory-friendly material down to the elementals. It shows not the birth of the American oil business but the origin of a certain kind of oil man -- self-made, hands-on, destined for great wealth but doomed to not enjoy it -- then pits this capitalistic force of nature against its Bible-thumping mirror image, hinting at the culture-shaping sibling rivalry between the influence of God and of Mammon in America.

Day-Lewis plays Daniel Plainview, a prospector introduced in a wordless sequence showing his progression from heavy-bearded miner to civilized man with prospects: In the entire first reel, the only dialogue we hear is a muttered "there she is" as Plainview finds his buried treasure. The soundtrack is dominated by wilding clouds of strings that bestow on petroleum the mysterious power of Stanley Kubrick's famous obelisk.

That music, by Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood, is captivating and sometimes intense, greatly contributing to the sense that tectonic forces lie beneath the drama.
The film then makes up for lost time as Plainview addresses a gathering of country landowners in hopes of talking his way onto their property. In Day-Lewis' hands, the spiel becomes a John Huston-ish seduction, a velvet rumble about how qualified he is to suck oil from their dirt and transmute it to wealth for them and their children. When his listeners hesitate before taking the bait, Plainview refuses them a second chance, moving briskly to the next-best prospect. Eventually, he lands a territory with vast, empire-building potential, and the film settles down there, watching him struggle to exploit the discovery.

The film isn't as bloody as its title suggests, but from the start it makes the most of what violence it contains. The dangers of digging for oil are starkly depicted, and at one point -- during a hair-raising sequence in which a just-struck gusher catches fire -- Plainview's young adopted son takes a fall that costs him his hearing.

That loss and a more mysterious family matter are all we see of Plainview's personal life; he seemingly exists to do nothing but find and sell oil. An obstacle arrives in the person of Paul Dano's Eli Sunday, a self-styled man of God hoping to funnel as much as possible of his congregation's impending wealth into glorifying the Almighty. Barely old enough to shave, Sunday spellbinds listeners with frenzied exorcisms and threatens to steer his flock away from the man who needs their land.

Director Anderson's critics might not know what to do with this picture, which has none of the attention-grabbing flourishes of earlier films -- no hailstorms of frogs or deus ex machina pianos here. The closest it gets to self-conscious showiness is its closing scene, a confrontation as memorably strange as the fireworks-popping, "Jessie's Girl"-belting drug deal in "Boogie Nights." Its setting is as visually spare (a highlight of Jack Fisk's brilliant production design) as the other was decadent and cluttered, and eventually the scene makes good on the title's promise -- but only after offering a virtuoso humiliation to mirror one Plainview suffers earlier in the story.

Even here, though, what could be mere showboating serves as the last step on the path "Blood" started out on: drawing us slowly and with steadily increasing horror into the bitter worldview of a man whose name suggests he sees the world for what it is.


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