Posts Tagged ‘There Will Be Blood’
Why I should have seen it already:
Remember that movie everyone was talking about a couple years ago? The one that is-better/is-worse than No Country for Old Men? This is that movie!
Now that I have:
There Will Be Blood starts with a dude digging a hole. You may know that dude. It’s Daniel Day-Lewis!
Daniel Plainview (Day-Lewis), who was given this name for how unremarkable he looks, digs a hole and finds oil. After doing some research online I learned he was originally digging for silver and found the oil by accident. I never inferred that information from the movie. Though, it’s hard to real get any information from this part of the movie since it’s no more than a dude hanging out in total silence. Anyway, it looks like he was just digging for whateve’s and finds oil (Bonus!).
Then he screws up. He has to crawl out of his big hole and back to town on his back with a broken leg. But he actually does it! This is an oil-y, tough guy. Get used to it.
One oil hole becomes many oil holes. Then a dude who brought his baby to an oil hole dies! Which is probably for the best, honestly. The guy thought his baby looked better with oil on its head. Not good father material. Naturally, Plainview sorta-kinda takes responsibility for his employee’s death and adopts the kid.
Plainview now starts to travel the country, looking for more oil. A creepy guy (Paul Dano) shows up to give Plainview a tip. Turns out, creepy guy’s family is sitting on a land practically flooded with oil! Plainview rewards his tip with money and threats of violence. Then it’s off to find the oil!
After attempting and failing to trick the family into accepting very little for their oil-y land, Plainview buys the property from creepy guy’s creepy priest twin brother Eli Sunday (also Paul Dano). Plainview and Sunday are passive aggressive towards each other for the rest of the film, except for some slapping and the part at the end where one gets beaten to death with a bowling ball pin.
After a lot of problems, Plainview eventually gets-rich-or-dies-trying, without the “dies trying” part. What are those problem? OK I’LL TELL YOU. An explosion at the oil drill leaves his son deaf for the rest of his life. A dude shows up pretending to be his long lost half brother. He keeps butting heads with rival oil companies. He is forced to become a member of Sunday’s church, a humiliation since Plainview is an atheist. And other stuff! But it’s all sort of forgettable. The only constant is his son’s deafness and how much he wants to kill Sunday with a bowling pin.
That’s where the movie ends. Plainview, hating people and wanting nothing more than a mansion all to himself with a bowling alley inside, has gotten just that. He’s finally happy. Only, he isn’t. Tricky movie!
Sunday shows up all smiles and happiness. He originally appears to be gloating about Plainview’s drunken, unhappy state. Then, Sunday admits he has no money and wants to help Plainview by some oil-y lands he couldn’t get earlier in the film.
This begins the film’s classic “I… drink… your… MILKSHAKE!” speech, where Plainview uses milkshakes to explain oil drilling. It’s all very technical so I won’t bore you with the details. Anyway, Plainview is uninterested. Totally humiliated, Sunday begins to beg, which makes Plainview go BOWLING CRAZY.
For those uninformed, Bowling Crazy is a form of dementia whereas the inflicted believe people are bowling pins which MUST BE KNOCKED DOWN. After the squirmiest fight in an indoor bowling alley I’ve ever seen, Sunday lays dead and Plainview tells his servant “I’m finish!”
There Will Be Blood feels suspiciously of a biopic. Its got a long, slowly developing story of a man’s life and features many spectacular performances by its actors. It’s shot beautifully and the film-making itself feels like a complete package, soundtrack included. BUT, much like a biopic it lacks a certain kind of soul.
As for the music, daaang. This is some Igor Stravinsky styled ruckus. The music is constantly playing that part of a horror film score where something is about to jump out and kill a lady. But instead of killing it’s Daniel Day-Lewis taking a sip of coffee. This film would not be saying what it’s trying to say without the soundtrack’s constant unnerving. So… dang.
Sadly, Plainview’s rivalry with Sunday, though the film’s most important conflict, doesn’t actually get a lot of screen time. It’s sort of strange. I wanted Sunday ruining Plainview’s day more. The Newman to his Seinfeld, if you will. Thankfully, when he does make things tough for Plainview it’s great. Both Dano and Day-Lewis’s performances are nuanced and restrained during these scenes. It’s like watching family members who hate each other trying to stay civil. The highest form of entertainment!
Naturally, my favorite scene of the There Will Be Blood was Sunday screeching and getting slapped around while Plainview shoved him into the mud. Watching two crazy people fight is always its own reward.