Sunday, January 27, 2008

There Will Be Blood (2007)

Perhaps the most appropriate categorization for There Will Be Blood is horror.

It is the story of a grotesque man that lives in a grotesque time in a grotesque place. Daniel Day-Lewis chews his way through every scene that leaves an indelible scar on the proceedings. This is coupled by Johnny Greenwood's (of Radiohead fame) incredibly jarring and brilliant string-work.

The film is an absolute gem of film making. It hypnotizes its way through our psyche and when we realize that we have been watching a downward spiral of a man at the end, the impact is unlike any epic. When you consider sprawling epic stories of people rising to divine greatness and then fall to the depths of moral and physical decay, the transition is usually shown by an incident. Take, for instance, the first two Godfathers. The change in fortunes come after important and vivid events: Don Corleone's assassination attempt, Sonny beating up Carlo, Fredo's slip-up. In the world of PT Anderson, his previous films also showed this event-that-changed-it-all (spoiler here!): William H. Macy's suicide in Boogie Nights (1997).

When Daniel Plainview's son comes back from San Francisco, everything seem to be going swell for him: he has just signed a deal with Union Oil for the pipelines; by going to the church, he earned the respect of the locals; and his son is finally back. But the ensuing dinner scene shows that we have been watching his decline rather than his ascend. Kudos to Anderson.

It is not the best(!) movie of the year, but it is certainly the most impressive.

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