Saturday, August 23, 2008

There Will Be Blood. Lots Of It. Watch at Your Own Risk.

One word for this movie:


I guess I should have counted on a "YIKES" factor, though. This is the guy who brought us "Punch Drunk Love," "Blow," and "Magnolia," none of which I liked. There's also the factor that the art Anderson is basing this movie on is none other than Upton Sinclair, and I thought "The Jungle" was enough to nauseate a world. (Is it just me, or were Upton Sinclair and George Orwell soul brothers or something...)

Still, despite all the oil deaths, derrick deaths, bowling pin deaths (that's not a typo), firearm deaths, old age deaths, and oil strike deafs (that's not a typo either), "There Will Be Blood" is a work of art, an absolutely excellent movie.

And that's the first and the last time I'll see it.


dkearns72 said...

I need to know how come you didnt like "Punch Drunk Love" or "Magnolia"?!

dkearns72 said...

I just double-checked b/c it didnt feel right, Anderson had no connection to "Blow."

He's way too much a NON-baby boomer (born 1970) to have had anything to do with a boomer-fest like "Blow."

Jo Jardin said...

Someone stuck him with credit for something on "Blow," or Yahoo! is actually on blow themselves:

Maybe someone was giving him special thanks because he provided blow for the crew. Hard to say...

As to the earlier question of not liking "Punch Drunk Love" or "Magnolia"...I think the primary reason why I didn't like them was because I rented them on the premise that smart people liked both movies and said that smart people would like them, and then I didn't get them enough to enjoy them. I unfortunately didn't make it through "Punch Drunk Love"--it just kept getting stranger and more depressing.

Here's a thought, though...maybe I saw these movies at the wrong strike point in my life. I know that the first time I read Twain I loathed him and when I tried again later I loved him (although I'm still not a big fan of "The CT Yankee in King Arthur's Court," which was my mother's favorite and which I read to her in her last weeks). Maybe Anderson is a shift in my psyche from now, and maybe someday you'll be reading on these screens how I have to watch a guy die in a drilling hole while his son screams on the edge of the abyss just to get through my day.

Meantime, my apologies for not being a big Anderson fan. Know this, though. "There Will Be Blood" is the first one of his movies that I understand, and I think it's because he was getting better through the practice of movies like "Punch Drunk Love" and "Magnolia." At the time that I saw those movies his work seemed aimless. "There Will Be Blood" was a whole lot tidier and more of a classic bit of Shakespeare.

In one of Bill's more gorey tragedies. :)

Thanks for your input, DK. :)

Jo Jardin said...

Just realized Blogger cut the link off of the last comment on Anderson. If you go to Yahoo Movies, bring up "There Will Be Blood", click on Anderson in the credits, and then the "Filmography" link, it will be there.

Just there, toward the bottom.

dkearns72 said...

I think Mr. Anderson fooled the "smart people," because it's their cultural mores that are being underhandedly undermined. He works in very convoluted fashions (Magnolia & PDL) or in different times (Boogie Nights & TWBB) in order to misdirect on one of his main themes IMHO. And he's right to misdirect because it's one that I have to be careful of discussing here myself.

Basically, he is making arguments about gender that are not amenable to the current rules of the cognoscenti. The basic rule of our bien pensants is that masculine values are to be criticized unless possessed by females in which case they become good while feminine values somewhat okay as long as they dont seem to undermine the first rule. Anderson works at sideways angles to be able to not follow the two rules.

One of the keys is to watch what he does with father figures. I havent seen TWBB, but judging by the reviews and ur comments, I see that it is a story with just such a figure. (The one time he went straightforward on such a figure, btw, was in his little seen first movie, "Hard Eight" which is worth checking out.) The next key is to then watch the male struggling in the film with the definitions of masculinity that are being offered. The masculinities on display are often where he is taking his more sideways and fairly oblique shots. But once u r looking for them, what he is after becomes more obvious.

It's been a long time since I have seen any movie, and so that includes Mr. Anderson's movies, but I still remember leaving PDL with such a broad smile at the way he had taken some shots that needed to be taken but without having his own knuckles bruised or creating the usual angry mob of glib and glaring glitterati.

Jo Jardin said...

Yep, the father figure was definitely a factor in "Blood," but I can't comment on Day-Lewis's character's approach to the opposite sex--women are so rare in "Blood" that it's difficult to gauge any gender distinctions with that one. There is a girl by the name of Mary that Plainview (Day-Lewis's character) takes care of for a little while who ends up being the only friend to Plainview's deaf "son" in adulthood, but she is so entirely two-dimensional that to place any gender symbolism on her is to go looking for it. She lends that statement, sort of, but Plainview's plot (and it is ABSOLUTELY character-driven) doesn't really float on issues of masculinity--Anderson is having a field day with a statement on greed and what people will do to get away with it. I don't know if that's Anderson's intent or if he just can't help it because the story is originally Sinclair's (who also gave us greed messages with the gore of "The Jungle," obviously). I don't think of gender-attributed morals when I think of Sinclair--I think of a writer hell-bent on showing injustice based on the almighty dollar.

And a writer who soaks up gore... :) Lord Byron he ain't...