Saturday, January 12, 2008


I saw P.T. Anderson's new movie last night, THERE WILL BE BLOOD. I was super excited about this movie as I love all of his other films, and the fact that Daniel Day-Lewis was starring couldn't have made it more compelling. I'd been waiting for this one for a while.

The movie is really different from any other Anderson movie. It contains very little of what I liked about all of his other films, with small exceptions. You should not go into this movie expecting to see those kind of films. This story is much more linear. There are hardly any of the long tracking shots that made certain scenes in other Anderson movies great. I love the shot in the second to last scene of BOOGIE NIGHTS where Burt Reynolds is walking around the house and all of the other characters are there in different rooms doing their own thing and there's a soft ominous music behind him that kind of puts the film to rest. There were more of those kind of moments in this film but also more that tried to make it something else, though the score of THERE WILL BE BLOOD was also key. It added a lot of tension and mood in a way that altered the images and made them more loaded.

Unfortunately THERE WILL BE BLOOD was missing a lot of the magic that I'd expected, though there was magic in other ways. Certainly Daniel Day-Lewis's performance was the center of the film. Without him, this movie would have been very boring. A lot of the camera and framing work that made other P.T. Anderson movies great to me was pared down and contained in little glimpses, short static shots that conveyed a lot of energy without any story. There are certain images that will stay in my head for a long time, but as a whole I think this movie doesn't quite come together. Instead it works as a series of images and vignettes. Moods. A collection. The shot of Daniel Day-Lewis floating in the ocean with a wave growing and looming up behind him over his head then transitioning to him sitting in a dark room was so excellent. Another certain, perhaps the most action-oriented scene in the film, was most like other Anderson pictures and worked very well to make me tense and nervous.

The first 2/3rds work so well, if slow-paced, in building a mood. It seemed as if the final 45 minutes or so was something put on speed-track by the producers, to wrap things up and make it more of a story. The last scene in the movie I absolutely hated. I wish I hadn't seen the last scene because I would have liked it a lot more. I would have liked it more if it had been 8 hours long instead of 2.5. This is still worth seeing but I'd probably never watch it again, unlike other Anderson films, all of which I've watched many times.

I am tired of seeing disappointing films. They disappoint me as much as music these days. This was still more satisfying than others, though not a perfect movie.

Coffee never disappoints.


Ken Baumann said...

I am anticipating seeing this movie too much. I was very excited after I saw the trailer. I like PT Anderson's other movies very much.

I liked this review.

Scott Garson said...

re: last graph:

Watching TV's a lot easier for just that reason, I think. No expectations.

A lot of people who write philosophically about happiness end up designating expectations as the problem, even if they don't use that term. Reading their arguments -- Lao Tzu's, for ex. -- always leaves me feeling sort of stirred, open to new possibilities. Then the feeling passes. And the next time I run into Lao Tzu I feel bad....

I'd like to say, in defense of myself, that living w/out expectations is no more possible than living without a stomach. How convincing is that?


that's true scott. someone w/o expectation of this film will probably enjoy it much more than me.

i am convinced. not having a stomach is pretty hard, though.

Anonymous said...

i liked daniel day-lewis in the movie, 'the ballad of jack and rose.' i want to see this movie. i like the music from this movie. i like what johnny greenwood has done.