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Sunday, February 3, 2008

plainview



my friend jim drove down from boulder last night and we saw the film "there will be blood". i must admit, it wasn't my first choice, but he had seen every other movie i picked so finally i said you can't ask me to pick because you've got so many limititions. you pick and i'll be happy to go. i really can't remember the last movie i went to a theatre to see.

it is a very slow piece. it's a rework of the upton sinclair story by the name of oil. the backdrop is unsettled california during post-gold-rush days. the storyline follows an self-professed oilman's journey from new mexico to california, as he lets his passion and instinct lead him to bigger successes in his line of work.

but his emotional life arcs in a different direction than his career. his drive and his calling slowly cut off his ability to interact successfully with other humans and he is left, in the late scenes of the film, wandering and lolligagging completely alone in his self built castle, bitter and isolated, almost inhuman.

the performances are completely compelling, especially that of daniel day lewis. he is almost unrecognizable and sprials more towards that direction as the story progresses. i was definitely aware that the film was dry, but i was also completely compelled by the imagery and the metaphors of digging of wells, of the accidents, the loss, and the death, involved in that digging as well as the sheer strength of religion and the drama of religious charismatics. flaming oil geysers and the communities and the new life that sprung up around those drilling sites create an underworld that is well-seasoned with eccentricities. for me, there is a total correllation to recovery, truth, 12-step culture and constructing a sober life. a life without faith and without doing for others, but spent in isolation and indulgence is hardly a life at all.

i almost think this movie should be seen in a theatre. i don't know if i would have had the patience to keep it running at home. it is slow paced, it is impartial, it is pragmatic in its approach. but in a theatre, surrounded by hundreds of others, i felt it to be a cultural experience that contained value that was more than worthwhile.

here is one review:

Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert
The kind of film that is easily called great. I am not sure of its greatness. It was filmed in the same area of Texas used by "No Country for Old Men," and that is a great film, and a perfect one. But There Will Be Blood"is not perfect, and in its imperfections we may see its reach exceeding its grasp. Which is not a dishonorable thing.

read the remainder of review here

i found the soundtrack mesmerizing as well. jonny greenwood of "radiohead" has composed the heart of it. i will most likely download that, too. meantime, here is a cut from radiohead's latest release "rainbows".


3 comments:

DirtyBitchSociety said...

I do believe you are one of the best movie reviewers out there, sweetie, I think you've missed your calling!

Krokodil said...

Its got a great title though - one that makes one want to see it.

How are you, Rob.
I missed Brian. We almost connected, but he had his flight schedules confused, so we had to cancel our planned dinner - I was sad, but it did show me one of the greatest corners of Cape Town for socializing: the old Malay Quarter which now seems to be the gay quarter - eye candy, bru, in abundance!

Marc said...

I HATED the music--so jarring and contemporary. I also thought DDL did a great job but his character was so soulless and completely lacking in redemption. I felt like the director was so enamored by violence, as so many of our American directors are. Like these ex-nerds are trying to show they're not nerdy anymore. Irritates the hell out of me.

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