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

Akash
Professor
Posts: 2037
Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2006 1:34 am

Postby Akash » Mon Feb 11, 2008 3:05 pm

Mister Tee wrote:(Side note: What is it with this year and abrupt endings? Besides these two, I imagine Atonement impacted viewers unfamiliar with the novel in the same way, and I'd argue Sweeney Tood's finale feels a bit sudden, as well)

Meh. We go through this every few years. In 2004, it was the year of abrupt endings with "Before Sunset" and "Sideways" as well.

And Flipp, I'd disagree that Sinclair was one of the great fiction writers -- naturalist or otherwise. He's a propagandist. And while I certainly agree with his Socialist beliefs, as good literature, as good fiction, his work doesn't hold up. I found The Jungle and Oil among the most labored and forced pieces of literature I've ever read. If Ayn Rand is a propagandist (and she is), then so is Sinclair and if I'm really honest, I'd have to begrudgingly admit that Rand's horrible political beliefs are more artfully woven into her writing.




Edited By Akash on 1202760893

User avatar
flipp525
Laureate
Posts: 5829
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2003 7:44 am

Postby flipp525 » Mon Feb 11, 2008 2:23 pm

Sonic Youth wrote:P.S. I'm not exactly the most well-versed in American literature. But am I the only one who didn't know Upton Sinclair wrote a novel called Oil?

Probably not. I read it alongside The Jungle and Dreiser's Sister Carrie in an AmLit survey course called American Literature 1860-1940 I took in college, but in no way, shape or form, is this a popular piece of fiction. Upton Sinclair is considered one of the four great naturalist fiction writers of the late 19th / early 20th centuries alongside Theodore Dreiser, Stephen Crane and Frank Norris. Oil! Is certainly a lesser work than his more popular, The Jungle, but it's still read in some circles.

Sonic, I also found the use of the twins to be a bit confusing. It bothered me almost the entire way through the movie. I even allowed for the possibility that Eli had posed as his own twin in order to sabotage his own family in a way and force the town into some kind of showdown between religion and money. It made no sense to me that Plainview had no reaction to the fact that Eli and "Paul" looked exactly the same or that the Eli he met very well could have been Paul. I just didn't get it at all and I'm still distracted by it.




Edited By flipp525 on 1202758160
"The mantle of spinsterhood was definitely in her shoulders. She was twenty five and looked it."

-Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Mister Tee
Laureate
Posts: 6476
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 2:57 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Postby Mister Tee » Mon Feb 11, 2008 2:20 pm

I've been meaning to write about this for over two weeks now. dws' comments in another thread have finally sparked me, though in an odd way: I agree with much of what he says, but come away with, I believe, a rather higher opinion of the film.

For most of the way, I felt the film was close to a classic American epic. It grappled with big contextual issues even while focusing on more parochial (familial and neighborly) issues. It had a spectacular visual style (of many images, I will most remember the train taking HW away while Daniel stood in the foreground trying not to notice). Its dialogue was sometimes terse, sometimes lyrical, always engaging. And it had, in Daniel Day-Lewis' characterization, one of the great outsize characters of our age.

Yet when it ended, I felt uneasy.

When I say the film had my respect "most of the way", I mean more than you may think -- I mean from the opening, silent sequences, right up to the encounter in the bowling alley. Pretty much up to the blackout. But that blackout, for me, was truly problematic. In No Country for Old Men, where the ending was also abrupt, I was forced to reevaluate what I'd seen up till then, but I did it with no effort: the pieces seemed to fall right into place. Here, they felt like they split apart.

(Side note: What is it with this year and abrupt endings? Besides these two, I imagine Atonement impacted viewers unfamiliar with the novel in the same way, and I'd argue Sweeney Tood's finale feels a bit sudden, as well)

Penelope referred to the 1928 section as "the epilogue", and, based on the final shape of the piece, that's an accurate description. But I didn't feel that way heading into the segment, because I didn't feel like there'd been any climactic moments in the part preceding. As far as I was concerned, the film was proceeding on; I wasn't at all sure yet of what it ultimately was about. So, when it came to a sudden end like that, I was forced to double back and think, oh, I guess brining HW back and standing up to the bigger oil men was wrapping up the story, and these later scenes were What Happened After. Or something. In any event, it left me with the feeling that many have expressed about No Country -- as if it were a great symphony without a triumphant finale.

(Also, an oddity: I knew the film was a 2 hr. 40 min. effort, and at the moment of blackout, it didn't feel as if I'd been in the theatre that long)

Nonetheless...I'd vote for Anderson for best director. Day-Lewis would be my easiest acting choice this year -- and I feared I'd feel otherwise, having not much liked his Bill the Butcher. Here I thought he achieved the same, outsized effects without ever seeming like he was trying so hard. (dws, I'm not sure I'd use 'hammy" so much as "big" -- an adjective I'd also apply to, say, Jeremy Irons ir Reversal of Fortune, or even Cagney in Yankee Doodle Dandy. Hammy, to me, is Wilkinson in Michael Clayton) And, though I'd probably side with the gang here in voting Assassination of Jesse James for cinematography, Elswit would hardly be an ignoble choice. Penelope said of Jesse James, it's not just the exteriors: the interiors are equally well-lit. Well, same here. The goodbye scene between Daniel and HW seemed as perfectly lit as any interior I've seen this year.

Can anyone watch this film and not think Anderson was somewhat referencing the GOP presidential coalition? A feigned interest in family, rape-the-land oil interests, and a partnership of convenience with religious fundamentalists. When Daniel says "I'm finished", he might be referencing having completed his exploitation...or the end of his own time of influence...but he might also be proclaiming the end of a dominant political force.

User avatar
Sonic Youth
Laureate
Posts: 7436
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 8:35 pm
Location: USA

Postby Sonic Youth » Mon Feb 11, 2008 2:12 pm

SPOILERS

If there are any Oscar voters who loved "No Country for Old Men" but have their doubts about honoring a film that strays from the usual Best Picture template, never fear. All they have to do is check out "There Will Be Blood" (which is likely the last of the five BP nominees many of them will see) and they'll come running straight into the four comforting arms of the Coen Brothers. This ain't Citizen Kane, as TWBB's partisans claimed way back when. It's Stanley Kubrick... and we know how AMPAS felt about Kubrick. It's all shot in natural lighting, like "Barry Lyndon". As Daniel Day-Lewis's Plainview loses his mental stability, he degenerates into an aggressive, unrepentant primal being, down to his caveman essence... just like Jack Nicholson in "The Shining". And the final, ultra-violent freak-out is primo "Clockwork Orange", complete with terse closing line punctuating all that came before, and with Brahms Violin Concerto standing in for Ludwig Van. P.T. Anderson has one big plus over Kubrick, though. He's no misogynist. Or if he is, he at least knows how to counter it. Daniel Plainview is a selfish, opportunistic S.O.B (as is his counterpart, Eli the preacher). But Anderson allows the peripheral characters to register as more than mere figurines Plainview toys with. The consequences of Plainview's actions are real consequences, affecting real people. Anderson communicates his own judgement of Plainview's destructiveness through the other's expressions of disapproval, disgust and sometimes terror, none more pointedly than Plainview's grown son who opts for stability over success-at-all-costs. And as apalling as Plainview treated his son, Anderson shows Plainview had affectionate feelings for him. Perhaps poorly developed, certainly in great conflict with his ruthlessly practical nature, but there all the same.

Thematically, it's also Kubrickian, because "There Will Be Blood" is a tale of self-imposed isolation, where people are impediments to your goal. They're of the same value as the oil or dirt beneath your feet; either they have a use for you, or they don't. It's beyond selfish; it's all about living in your own bubble. Plainview is so cut off from anyone who is not himself, the concept of family (another theme) eludes him. Indeed, family is a concept to be viewed with great suspicion. Hints are dropped here and there about his childhood, and clearly he was never raised in a stable home. The nature of his relationship with his son is one of convenience. A suddenly appearing brother-in-law (Kevin J. O'Connor, beautifully sympathetic and aloof) betrays his trust. Twin brothers work against each other in order to use Plainview for their own purposes (and more on THAT later). And when a family member is finally happily married, Plainview dismisses him and cuts off all contact, for marriage is the final step towards independence, and independence begets competition. And why not? The ends justify the means, in Plainview's world. At the movie's conclusion, Plainview is the winner, having successfully fought off all adversity to reach his goal. And now look at him.

Day-Lewis gives the same sort of broad, unnatural, over-emphatic performance he gave in "Gangs of New York." In that film, the approach sunk him. Here, it's absolutely appropriate. Plainview is an animal, but not a social one. He has no natural sense of formal grace or courtesy. He's observant, he knows the right things to say in the appropriate situations. But it never emerges organically from within him. In essence, Daniel Plainview is a salesman - nothing but pretence - and he lives his life selling himself. He finds his counterpart in Paul Dano's Eli Sunday, who throws himself (Sunday, that is) into the role of devout preacher with such outlandish intensity, the congregation is too frightened to conclude he isn't sincere. Dano's effete manner and Gene Wilder voice could have been a campy disaster. And maybe it is. But I'm too overawed by how much Dano allows himself to be made ridiculous that I'm almost forced to concede that it's a brilliant, brave performance. Perhaps I was frightened into making this conclusion as well.

All this might suggest that I loved this movie. Wellll.... I loved quite a bit of it. I loved the control Anderson has over the entire project, as the visual style gradually morphs from the refinement of 19th century landscape depiction to 20th century art at its most depraved. His use of the dimensions only widescreen can provide is phenomenal; this cries out to be seen on the big screen. Check out the introduction of the half-brother, and how Anderson frames him and plainview on either side of the screen as they cautiously, suspiciously regard each other. Or when Plainview shoves Eli into a oil puddle and beats him, while other men discreetly stand in the background, watching without daring to move, their images cropped from the waist up. Or derricks and smokestacks photographed as background images, but slowly growing into the sky as a measure of the passage of time (redolent of Welles' "The Magnificent Ambersons"). And yet, this isn't something I'll scream "masterpiece!" over. It was all a bit too much. Anderson's use of themes and symbolism tends to be overwrought, just a bit. The music of Greenwood and depressive Baltic mystic Arvo Part gilded the lily, a tad. And for all the humanity Anderson shows of Plainview's "victims", he doesn't give much time for the laborers who struggled with Plainview's massive projects, although that could be explained, if not justified, by the distance Plainview imposes upon himself from most people.

And then there's my major complaint, and this is where the major SPOILER comes in. You were warned...



The use of twin brothers in the film left me utterly confused. The suggestion is that Dano plays twin brothers, but maybe they're one person. If the intention was to leave the audience without much clarity on the matter, then it was a contrivance I resented. The rest of the film was very straigtforward. Maybe Anderson had his reasons for playing a trick on us, maybe it suits the theme of family and ruthlessness towards humanity. Maybe I'd get it were I to sit for a spell and analyze it. But as it plays, it felt like something done on a whim, and it was VERY distracting.

As for which film would I vote for for Best Picture? Well, that's tough. I really couldn't say. I'd have to see both of them again, in succession. But I'm pretty confident that I know which one the Academy is going to vote for: "No Country for Old Men."

P.S. I'm not exactly the most well-versed in American literature. But am I the only one who didn't know Upton Sinclair wrote a novel called Oil?




Edited By Sonic Youth on 1202759319
"What the hell?"
Win Butler

User avatar
OscarGuy
Site Admin
Posts: 12545
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 12:22 am
Location: Springfield, MO
Contact:

Postby OscarGuy » Mon Jan 28, 2008 4:26 pm

Here's my review of There Will Be Blood.

There Will Be Blood - ****
Wesley Lovell
"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." - Benjamin Franklin

dws1982
Tenured
Posts: 2990
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 9:28 pm
Location: AL
Contact:

Postby dws1982 » Sat Jan 26, 2008 9:36 pm

I voted ***, but now I lean more towards **½. A frustrating movie.

User avatar
flipp525
Laureate
Posts: 5829
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2003 7:44 am

Postby flipp525 » Sat Jan 26, 2008 3:28 pm

This was the event of the year for me. I'm still not over the power and sheer force of this film. Clearly a best picture if I've ever seen one.
"The mantle of spinsterhood was definitely in her shoulders. She was twenty five and looked it."



-Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Franz Ferdinand
Adjunct
Posts: 1327
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 3:22 pm
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Contact:

Postby Franz Ferdinand » Thu Jan 24, 2008 1:17 am

I think I need to watch this again to get the full extent of its power, so I went with 3 1/2. The performances, the direction, the music; it all gelled together beautifully and the movie overall was superb. A bit of an unresolved ending, but like rolo said, how else could it really end? I'm ever so bitter about Greenwood not being eligible for the Score Oscar, a true WTF.

Akash
Professor
Posts: 2037
Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2006 1:34 am

Postby Akash » Tue Jan 22, 2008 10:06 pm

Even The Nation loves PTA's film.

A Hard Man
by STUART KLAWANS

[from the January 28, 2008 issue]


By the time the boy lies moaning on the floor, spooned against a father who is helpless to soothe him, the earth has blasted open, fire has whooshed up through an oil derrick and a dozen roustabouts, dwarfed by their handiwork, have raced in all directions across the stony Central California hilltop, trying to contain the immense forces they'd set loose. When at last they could do no more than wait, some had stood silhouetted before the tower of flame, marveling as it raged against an indigo sky. Others had watched from a distance, the glow flickering over their faces, while greasy black clouds spread into lingering daylight to the west. After night fell, around the time the derrick toppled, the boss's assistant had asked if the boy was all right. "No," the boss had calmly said of his son, "he's not," then went on watching the fire. All this, to a clattering on the soundtrack like a gamelan of pots, pans and mixing bowls, beating out insistent variations on lub-dub; and still the gargantuan sequence wasn't over. A fresh day had to break, and wagons loaded with dynamite shoved into the mouth of the fire, before Daniel Plainview could at last lie on the floor of his shack, to caress and restrain his damaged son.

Grim and gleeful, mechanistic and demonic, this tremendous set piece stands out as the most elaborate segment in Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood but is only one of the film's half-dozen great dramatic eruptions. All of them are instantly recognizable as classic. Each is distinct in setting and style: the Wild West showdown, filmed in a panoramic sweep beside a rising lake of oil; the faith-healing service, in which the camera tracks a preacher's dance back and forth through his pine box of a church; the scene of Daniel Plainview's public humiliation, shot in steady, pitiless close-up beneath a cross of sunlight; the final confrontation between Plainview and his son, executed as an intricate pattern of cross-cutting within an office that's all carved mahogany and shadows. There's even a mad scene that rivals the big oil-strike sequence for virtuosity and violence, despite being shot with just two actors within a basement bowling alley.

You have, of course, seen other movies about the lawless West and the making of American fortunes. You've seen Charles Foster Kane, self-isolated and half-mad, tearing up his Xanadu. (You might as well know: that's where this is going.) But in the aptly titled There Will Be Blood, Anderson tells the familiar story not as he's received it from earlier films (much as he's studied them) or even from his putative source, Upton Sinclair's 1927 novel Oil!, but as a kind of social realist peyote vision. Utterly fluid yet coming at you in flashes, based on events of a century ago yet intensely present, the film seems as tangible as its desert hills and steam-powered machines but as unfathomable as Daniel Plainview: a rumbling abyss of a man, who will tell you he doesn't like to explain himself.

In this, as in other ways, he is true to the historic character of America's self-made men. As Eric Hobsbawm wrote of the nineteenth century's industrial millionaires, "None had noticeable scruples or could afford to have in an economy and an age where fraud, bribery, slander and if necessary guns were normal aspects of competition. All were hard men, and most would have regarded the question whether they were honest as considerably less relevant to their affairs than the question whether they were smart."

Though Plainview makes his great strike a little later than Hobsbawm's subjects, in 1911, he too is a hard man, who will stake a mining claim even at the expense of dragging his smashed bones across a landscape of bleached rocks; a lying man, who despite his roughneck past affects a gentleman's cooing, round-voweled manner to tell "plainspoken" truths, which aren't; a ruthlessly smart man, who knows of no graver insult than "fool" and is at his most dangerous when he finds he's been played for one.

Where he breaks from type--a departure that makes all the difference to the film--is in his disgust at that cruelest of hoodwinkers: the man of God. The old robber barons could abide the forms of religion when necessary, here dropping an endowment into a strategically advantageous church, there nodding to a sermon that blessed the accumulation of capital. But as much as Plainview aspires to hypocrisy, his one irrepressible, honest impulse is a physical revulsion toward the Almighty and His spokespersons. Reality to Plainview comes down to mechanics, and mechanics in his experience always threatens to become a chain of catastrophes: pulleys that malfunction at the worst moment, beams and hardware that fail to support enough weight, heavy drill bits that slip loose and fall until stopped by somebody's skull. So in this universe of accident and calculation, it must be one more damned trick of chance when Plainview comes snooping for oil in Little Boston, California, his boy H.W. in tow, and winds up negotiating for mineral rights with smooth-faced Eli Sunday, a goat farmer's son who has founded the Church of the Third Revelation.

Sunday, too, is self-made in his way, having anointed himself the evangelist of a new gospel that apparently is still coming in. That this young promoter bargains over the price of a lease doesn't much bother Plainview, who expects as much in business and also expects to win. But the oilman rips himself away with barely concealed anger when Sunday tries to seal the transaction by clasping his hand in prayer. That's too ambitious; that presumes Plainview could be merged into a cozy fellowship ruled by another man's say-so. Never mind that Plainview himself delivers orations on friendship, family and community when he's speaking in public, to sell his services or smooth the way for his operations. In private, he trusts and loves no one but H.W.; and when his relationship with the boy is ruptured--call it fate or another catastrophe of mechanics--Plainview's scorn for Eli Sunday turns into violent hostility.

For all its detailed attention to the building of an industrial fortune--the competition to acquire property, the management of men and equipment, the drive to control both production and transport--There Will Be Blood develops into a contest of wills between Plainview and Sunday, and so resolves unexpectedly into an argument about faith. Or, to judge from the malefic exuberance of the final scene, perhaps it's an argument against faith.

So where, you might ask, is the revolution? Admirers of Oil! and Nation readers may be disappointed to find that Anderson has chucked out the people's soviets, along with the rest of the novel's politics: the labor agitation, the factional debates, the translation of generational conflict into class struggle. If There Will Be Blood had pretended to give an accurate picture of its era, this would have been a fatal omission.

But few things can be as useless as a historical drama of historical interest--which is what Anderson would have risked making had he incorporated material that's wholly outside the experience of most of today's viewers. Instead, he's reasonably used his period characters to suggest contemporary political meanings. In Plainview's speeches, you hear a forecast of the present-day public entrepreneur, with his promises that the market (meaning himself) will shower bread, sunshine and good schools wherever he makes a buck; while in Sunday's preaching, you hear the voice of every modern fundamentalist election-broker who declares that Jesus alone (meaning himself) can set our society right.

In reality, as you may have observed, these two figures have been allied for decades. Anderson's twist is to set them against each other, in an imaginative reordering of society so radical that it almost qualifies as political in itself. He distorts history, the source novel and your sense of the contemporary scene. And what do you get in exchange? Just the invigoration of seeing God and Mammon going for each other's throat.

Of course, if Plainview and Sunday were allegorical, there would be no satisfaction in the spectacle. The antagonists have to be fleshed-out vessels of the promised blood; and so I come to Daniel Day-Lewis's performance as Plainview.

You can see how Day-Lewis pieced together the outward elements of the characterization: the slight stoop and limp that testify to old injuries suffered in the pit; the huffing and wheezing that suggest years of breathing rock dust and oil fumes; the grand, baritonal way of forming words, which Plainview must have copied from the era's classiest stump speakers; the habit of pausing and working his jaw, which betrays the agitation simmering beneath every show of patience. Other actors, too, could have figured out such signs. Day-Lewis establishes them and then makes you forget their presence, much as you ignore the scaffolding of the oil derrick once the forces of nature come blasting through. The emotion that Day-Lewis taps seems so spontaneous, and so volcanic, that his performance ought to be listed in the end credits as a special effect, along with the computer-generated imagery used for the fiery gusher. Even here, of course, there must have been calculation. I imagine that in preparing the performance, Day-Lewis might have worked backward from his biggest moments, planning when to hint at restrained fury, when to release a note of sarcasm or contempt and when to let loose an outburst, always increasing the magnitude toward the climax in the final scene. But this still says nothing about the complexity of the characterization--for example, the way Plainview will pet and imprison H.W. in a single gesture--or the wonderful paradox of an actor's displaying such power while being attentive to everyone else in the scene. Instead of blowing away his fellow players, Day-Lewis makes them all better by the sheer intensity of his focus on them. To mention only the most obvious case: the admirable Paul Dano, who could have played Eli Sunday opposite any Plainview and been memorable, meets the challenge in Day-Lewis's eyes and makes himself uncanny.

If there had to be one word for There Will Be Blood, in fact, I suppose "uncanny" would do. The score, composed by Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead (with a major assist from Johannes Brahms), wraps you in a brooding, unnerving, exhilarating atmosphere in which massed strings can swarm like uneasy flies or shriek like a siren. The cinematography, by Robert Elswit, confronts you with a high, desolate terrain that sometimes, in the shifting light and color, resembles a crouched and breathing beast. Plainview wants nothing to do with the otherworldly, and given the screenplay's construction, he emphatically gets the final word on that subject; but the sounds and images contradict him.

There was something uncanny as well in the season's other downward-spiraling western, No Country for Old Men--that Calvinist horror show stalked by Javier Bardem as God's own bogeyman. Why the Coen brothers should believe in the total depravity of humankind and the need for grace (withheld more often than given), I really don't know; but they turned this worldview into an exceptionally well-made movie. It's so immaculate, it will provoke anxiety in you for two hours straight without so much as mussing your hair.

There Will Be Blood, by contrast, is flamboyant rather than immaculate, not just well made but brilliantly and intuitively expressive; and it leaves you feeling shaken but also a little stronger. Maybe Plainview wins his argument against faith, but he loses a deeper argument with H.W.--one about trust and kindness. His loss; your gain.

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20080128/klawans

Anon
Temp
Posts: 295
Joined: Sun Jan 25, 2004 11:03 pm
Location: Albany
Contact:

Postby Anon » Sun Jan 20, 2008 8:26 pm

I saw this over the weekend and loved the score and the stark scenery. And yes I was wowed by DDL, but the last scene gave me strange vibes and was at a loss for how I really felt about it.

Then I saw this parody over at YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MCCdZmHk5Fk&feature=related

"I drink your milk shake...Draaaaaaiiiinage!"

That pretty much sums up what I thought about a highly overwrought performance between DDL and Drano. The only good thing is: once this line has been taken out of the shocking scene, it's genuinely hilarious. :) I gave it three stars.

Bog
Assistant
Posts: 821
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 12:39 am
Location: United States

Postby Bog » Fri Jan 18, 2008 6:19 pm

Well I guess I'm a detractor on this board, and in general it seems, though I rate this as 3 stars on here. I think it's a beautiful looking film and the score is remarkable (Jonny Greenwood should compose for all films I think, though maybe he found perfection with this film alone) and this makes me comfortable in 3 stars.

I feel as though much of it is just too showy and too out there, and leaving so much to the imagination about the characters' drive and motives took away from the humanity of the thing. I have just seen the film and have much to reflect on but was nowhere near blown away as a whole as much as I had anticipated (basically just assumed).

And Day-Lewis as a master class and Oscar sure thing seems like a downer to me, don't get me wrong, he's it, that's him, he acts in a way where no one else can even be imagined in roles he perfects, I just didn't love him or the film, as much as I respect a lot of what was done here.

User avatar
rolotomasi99
Associate
Posts: 1924
Joined: Wed Jan 29, 2003 4:13 pm
Location: n/a
Contact:

Postby rolotomasi99 » Wed Jan 16, 2008 3:56 pm

i gave it a four. on the imdb scale out of 10 i gave it an 8.

i loved MAGNOLIA and liked the three other p.t. anderson films prior. i went into this one expecting to love it, but was cautious since i had been slightly (only slightly) disappointed with NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN. however, from the first image on screen to the very last second of the credits (love the music used), i was blown away. i honestly did not notice the three hours go by, which i did with MAGNOLIA even though i loved it. i was so riveted by every moment, every image, every word, every sound.
it was clearly made by someone who loves cinema, and sees making movies as more than just a job. sometimes loving cinema can be self-indulgent (tarantino, smith, rodriguez, roth, etc.), but p.t. anderson wants to make movies that are art, not just something to impress his buddies or his fanboys.
while i enjoyed his previous style of filmmaking, i felt that he has matured exponentially with this film and its more subdued storytelling.
of course, performances all around were amazing. nothing more can be said about how incredible daniel day-lewis is, both in this film and his career in general. not since george c. scott in PATTON have you loved such a horrible person. he does not try to charm or seduce you into liking him the way anthony hopkins does in THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. you feel for him because in his own way he has a twisted but surprisingly admirable code of ethics.
in contrast, paul dano is the slick and duplicitous character. i first admired dano in LIE and found him pretty good in LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, but this role raised him to a whole new level. i kept expecting his eli sunday to turn into a parody on the elmer gantry stereotype of evangelical preachers, but dano was very good at contrasting his church "performances" with his scheming, self-loathing side.
i similarly enjoyed dillon freasier as h.w. as adorable as he was, he never went for the typical "cute" child performance. so much of the movie relied on day-lewis' interaction with freasier, and both held their own with each other.
as for the ending, i agree with ebert who felt it was inappropriate but cannot imagine what an appropriate ending would be to this film. how could this film have ended satisfactorily? it at no point was a typical film, so how could it have had a typical ending? ultimately, i learned to accept and even love the ending. i surrendered because the film had ultimately earned the right to end that way.
it was an amazing film, and p.t. anderson sure has his work cut out for him for the follow up.
"When it comes to the subject of torture, I trust a woman who was married to James Cameron for three years."
-- Amy Poehler in praise of Zero Dark Thirty director Kathryn Bigelow

User avatar
Penelope
Site Admin
Posts: 5663
Joined: Sat Jan 31, 2004 11:47 am
Location: Tampa, FL, USA

Postby Penelope » Wed Jan 16, 2008 2:30 pm

I gave it 4 stars; although I had some reservations about the last 15 minutes--a too sudden resolution, imho--everything else about the pic was so astonishingly breathtaking that it still leaves me dazzled days later.
"...it is the weak who are cruel, and...gentleness is only to be expected from the strong." - Leo Reston

"Cruelty might be very human, and it might be cultural, but it's not acceptable." - Jodie Foster

User avatar
Zahveed
Associate
Posts: 1838
Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2007 1:47 pm
Location: In Your Head
Contact:

Postby Zahveed » Wed Jan 16, 2008 2:28 pm

****
"It's the least most of us can do, but less of us will do more."

User avatar
OscarGuy
Site Admin
Posts: 12545
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 12:22 am
Location: Springfield, MO
Contact:

Postby OscarGuy » Wed Jan 16, 2008 2:21 pm

I think we should start creating threads like this when discussing. It does two things. Gives us the same opportunity to discuss and also the opportunity to give a firm weigh in. We can then more easily look at what the board generally held to be the best films of the year.

Be honest, don't purposely weight a film down just because you didn't like it as much as others (for instance, I would still give No Country 3 stars, not 1 just because I want it to perform poorly). Of course, this is an honor system, but I trust you guys not to over-accentuate a film's weaknesses or positives.

Now, once you vote, you can't change it. You also can't see others' votes before you make your own. So, be certain you choose the right one before committing. It can't be changed later.

These polls will be on a four-star scale with 0 being worst and four being best. Have fun.

I'm testing out this film as a sample to see if it works well and if so, I'll start moving it to other films.
Wesley Lovell

"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." - Benjamin Franklin


Return to “2000 - 2007”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests