Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Film Review: There Will Be Blood

So I jumped onto this cult-followed film a decent too-far-long after it originally hit the theaters in 2007. When "There Will Be Blood" came out, I was still anti-anything-that-wasn’t-horror-or-romance. As I have gotten older, my taste in films has radically changed from shitty chick-flicks and horror films to now dark or deeply rooted-independents (I'm sorry, so hipster of me) or anything directed by someone like Lars Von Trier or Darren Arranofsky… and (a little less) horror films. (That also changed with the influence of an ex of mine who is still a good friend and has great taste in filmography, and also because of the death of a best friend. I see life a lot differently that I did before because of that.) ANYHOO, I first saw Daniel Day-Lewis in The Crucible when I was a kid. (My ma has a serious obsession with old British and American literature specifically about witchcraft and the Salem witch-trials back in the day.) I’ve now seen several of Daniel Day-Lewis’ films, such as his most recent one, Lincoln. (Badass flick, dudes.) Basically, in my opinion, Day-Lewis is a genius, and he’s even more of a genius when he has a mustache. I’m getting a little off-topic here, but stick with me. "There Will Be Blood," directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, was nominated for eight academy awards and received two of them for best actor and best cinematography when is came out in 2007. It is loosely based on "Oil!," a novel by Upton Sinclair. (Anderson has said that it’s more the inspiration of the film than anything else.)
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As many of you know, Day-Lewis is a “method actor.” This means that he basically LIVES the part he’s playing (or preparing for) all throughout the pre-production process and obviously during the filming. He does not leave that character even when off-set. According to many sources, “During filming {of My Left Foot], he refused to break character. Playing a severely paralyzed character on screen, off screen Day-Lewis had to be moved around the set in his wheelchair, and crew members would curse at having to lift him over camera and lighting wires, all so that he might gain insight into all aspects of Brown's life, including the embarrassments.” (Totally understandable on the crew's part, but this is a piece of art we're talking about, here!) So basically, he’s a badass, and I think that’s pretty much why "There Will Be Blood" has gotten a ridiculous cult-following. Something that Day-Lewis does so well is that when he plays a part you really can’t see him as anything else. He IS that person. Day-Lewis is so extraordinarily convincing that it’s almost creepy and it’s also almost creepy because you know that while filming, he was going to bed at night next to his wife talking in that deep, dark man-voice about oil tactics and dispensaries. (God, I wish Day-Lewis would get in bed next to me at night and talk about… anything.)  And Paul Dano… I cannot forget Paul Dano. He plays a set of twin brothers, one of them the audience only sees once. Eli (Dano’s main character) is this gross, power-driven, evangelical preacher who seeks control over his community and of course, can’t stand Plainview’s even less moral power-seeking antics. Day-Lewis and Dano have this ridiculous chemistry together as actors. Their relationship is comical at times with the way that Day-Lewis' character is always sarcastically verbally abusing Dano's character. And Dano's plays this preacher so slyly and innocently devilish, it's perfection! 
And the soundtrack. OH, the soundtrack is seriously heaven on a stick. (Sorry, if that doesn’t make sense to you.) But seriously, Jonny Greenwood, keyboardist & guitarist of Radiohead, is my most favoritest modern-composer of our time. My younger brother told me that the soundtrack couldn’t be nominated because they used sections of Arvo Part’s cello concerto; which to me is silliness. The soundtrack is so eerie that you feel like you’re watching a horror film the entire time, but you’re not!!; which I LOVE. Another soundtrack he composed was the one used in We Need to Talk About Kevin
So there you have it! See this if you haven't! And I'll leave you with a little story: I'll never forget one of my first introductions to this film was Dennis and his roommates quoting different tidbits from "There Will Be Blood." I would hear "Splash around, Eli" or "I DRINK your milk…" all said in different imitations of Daniel Plainview's (Day Lewis) deep, ridiculous voice. I knew I had to see it and give it a chance after that…  

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