Wednesday, February 6, 2008

There Will Be Blood

There Will Be Blood, the newest film from acclaimed director Paul Thomas Anderson, tells the story of a self-made oil baron in California at the dawn of the 20th century. He and his young son, who acts as his business partner, find a small town that sits above an underground “ocean of oil.” The only thing that stands in their way is a young, strong-willed priest who has aspirations of his own.

- A year ago I took a theater class here called Auditioning. Essentially it was about the process of auditioning (for stage or screen) and becoming better at that process, hence the name of the class. One thing that I remember talking about in that class is something our professor called the ultimate compliment. You see, when a performer gives a performance for an instructor or fellow peer, and that instructor or peer gives the performer no comment or instruction afterward, then that performer knows that they have just received the ultimate compliment. It sounds strange, but for a peer or instructor to say nothing means that they found nothing wrong with the performer’s performance. The instructor has nothing left to teach and the peer nothing left to say. The performer did a perfect job. Such a comment is rare, and is the greatest comment that a performer could receive. I myself have never received such comment and I am only aware of one other person who has. It is the highest praise given only to performances of the highest caliber.

There Will Be Blood pulls this same speechless response out of me. I honestly don’t know what to write because I feel like nothing needs to be said other than for me to tell the reader of this article to go see this movie, because you are in for a treat. Although I am speechless (in a manner of speaking) allow me to list some of the reasons why you need to go see this movie.

The direction and visual structure of this film is a work of art, the likes of which are rarely seen. The music only serves to drive the audience deeper into the intoxicating world of our protagonist, hero, and villain Daniel Plainview. While such a deep and multilayered character would sound hard to portray, actor Daniel Day Lewis successfully represents Plainview by giving the most stimulating and flawless performance of a lifetime. Writer and Director Paul Thomas Anderson could not have created a better vehicle for Oscar buzz, being that it has already been nominated for eight of them.

Please, ladies and gentlemen of this supposed college, go see this powerful character driven drama. Not only will you leave second guessing your humanity but you will indeed understand why, in the end, there will be blood.


DAN - Having read the introduction in Steve’s review, I’m tempted to simply say “no comment” in regards to There Will Be Blood. However, I think some things deserve to be noted.

Director P.T. Anderson consistently makes great movies. He is an expert storyteller, and he knows how to create complex characters. I had high expectations for this film, and they were met. Perhaps they were even surpassed.

A good portion of the movie’s introduction is without any dialogue. It takes talent to pull this off as effectively as Anderson does, and Daniel Day-Lewis is equally gifted in acting physically.

In fact, Day-Lewis is nearly unrecognizable, yet forever memorable, in his role as a fully determined businessman. His performance in this film captured my interest, and I’m currently in the process of watching his previous films. He seems to fully delve into his characters, and the result is captivating.

The musical score for this film is a thing of beauty, ranging from melodious orchestrations to shrill discordance. Surprisingly, it was composed by Johnny Greenwood of Radiohead; I would not expect the guitarist of such a band to compose such an extensive score. The music vividly paints an image of balanced madness that follows the character of Daniel Plainview.

There Will Be Blood is a work of art in every way.

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