A story of family, religion, hatred, oil and madness, focusing on a turn-of-the-century prospector in the early days of the business.A story of family, religion, hatred, oil and madness, focusing on a turn-of-the-century prospector in the early days of the business.A story of family, religion, hatred, oil and madness, focusing on a turn-of-the-century prospector in the early days of the business.
Remember Those Hollywood Studio Epics? Me Either. But We're Covered.
The year I was born was the same year Predator and Robocop came out. When I was finally old enough to appreciate films, Little Nicky was in theaters. I know, believe me, I know; rocky start. And often I would watch older films, or specials on older films, and be dazzled. You know the ones. Remember when they made Spartacus? Remember sitting in the movies and watching Gregory Peck play Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird? Remember the first time you heard "I could've been a contender" through theater speakers? Well I sure as hell don't. But I'll tell you what, now I feel somewhat caught up. Let's begin with the obvious. Daniel Day Lewis. No one's arguing about this. The man is a veritable God among ants on the screen. He takes his role by the reigns and I don't doubt him for a second. In fact, at times, I was downright afraid of the man. Lewis gives what is easily, EASILY the best performance of the past five years. But let's get serious about it. Lewis' Daniel Plainview is the most convincing, awe-inspiring, and downright mortifying character to take the big screen that I can remember. Here, perfectly in his element and at his best, Lewis could go toe to toe with Brando and Kinski, playing a part that oozes enough skill and pathos to earn him a place among Hollywood's, and perhaps the world's, greatest performances of all time. He gives those of us who missed out on the craft, depth of character, and technique of classic cinema a chance to admire a tour de force portrayal of a memorable, identifiable, and completely despicable character, and it's so damned refreshing that I can't stop singing the man's praises. Paul Dano has been taking a lot of fire for this whole thing. People continue to spout their disapproval of the film's casting, saying that Dano has no business rivaling the seasoned Lewis on the screen. Listen, lay down your swords a minute and consider the obvious. The guy was cast opposite the performance of the decade, he's not going to outshine Lewis and you'd be crazy to expect him to. In fact, I think that he and Lewis' back-and-forths are the films highlights, as we see the juxtaposition not only in the characters themselves, but also in their acting techniques. And the cinematography? Welcome to the old days of film. The glory days of Hollywood. Anderson gives us one of the most beautifully shot and directed films in recent memory, truly at the top of his craft on this one. Every moment feels more epic than the last, until the film becomes such a towering cinematic spectacle that the end leaves the viewer exhausted. It's truly an experience not to be missed. Yeah, we missed out on A Street Car Named Desire. And Casablanca isn't gonna be in theaters again any time soon. But in the meantime, There Will Be Blood is just about as good, and will likely haunt our generation as much as the Hollywood studio epics of the past...
- Jan 14, 2008
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