There Will Be Blood

>> Saturday, February 16, 2008

Finally made the 11:40 showing at the Grand. This movie is about 2 1/2 hours long, so I didn't want to see it on a week night where it would finish after 11. I got out of the 11:40 showing at 2:30.

I finished reading a particular paragraph from the book I'm currently reading, The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight, right before the movie started. It caught my eye because I knew what the general story was without reading multiple rave reviews.

As my Native American mentor said of me, "Boy, you think you're rich, but you're poor beyond your imaginings." So we must, as a culture, rediscover where the point of "enough" is, both materially and spiritually. By finding this point, you become infinitely richer.
Anyhow, what struck me the most during the movie was how physically different things were only a hundred years ago. Not that long really. People really had to work HARD just to get by, even just to eat.

I actually do think the desert that they filmed in was very beautiful. Call me a quack but I miss seeing the sagebrush of northern Nevada. Sentimental schmuck, I am.

Such an interesting concept for a film. I almost feel inclined to read Upton Sinclair's OIL! just to see how closely the film hewed to the book. Upton Sinclair seems almost forgotten except in American history classes. (A guy in my class read The Jungle and said he could never look at a hot dog or a hamburger the same way again.) I've never read a book of his, but I think we need more of his muckraking today.

And Daniel Plainview... when he first signed his name at the beginning of the movie, I thought he was going to sign his name as "Daniel Day Lewis" and that it would be the beginning of the opening credits. Oh well. What a character! What a crudgey, old man! What an asshole! I thought he was likable at times, except when he was, you know, murdering people. The depth of his soul is clearly skin deep. At one point, I remember thinking, "Well, he does care, perhaps even love, his son." Except when he becomes a bitter, old man. Hunchback!

It's pretty much a foregone conclusion that Daniel Day-Lewis is going to win his second Oscar for this. It certainly makes for a less exciting ceremony, but I can't say that he doesn't deserve it. It's a much less scenery-chewing character than Bill the Butcher in Gangs of New York. I'd much rather have DDL as a two-time Oscar winner than Russell Crowe. That man's head doesn't need to get any bigger.

But Paul Dano's preacher, yikes, his character is almost as craven as Daniel Plainview. I'm a bit confused as to whether the brothers Paul and Eli were supposed to be twins or not. It was never clear to me whether they were supposed to be and that's why they were played by the same actor or if they were just supposed to look a LOT alike. A trivial point for most people, but I hate to see the "evil twin" concept/myth persist to any degree.

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