The cinematography seems promising from the trailer. The acting looks intense.
The story of a driven, possibly evil, oilman.
*Read this after you’ve seen it: (plot details revealed)
On the DVD box, Manohla Dargis of The New York Times says that this movie is “a consummate work of art.”
Well, not quite.
At 2 hours and 38 minutes, it is “epic” in length, that’s for sure.
Parts of it, as the box indicates, are “masterpiece moments,” but the movie as a whole isn’t.
There Will Be Blood is very watchable and entertaining, but the beginning does not have the visual “loading” in the first ten minutes that audiences have come to expect.
I think that for today’s instant gratification/information overload/short attention-span audience, the fast front-loading of images and ideas is important for most movies.
The film is probably about 45 minutes too long. At this length, there would have been time for a whole new act.
The premise of the film is extremely simple: a fiercely determined oilman sets out to beat the competition, and get rich putting in oil wells.
He has a very young son in tow, and he needs to buy up land in a certain oil-rich area, thus attracting the concern of the town’s young and driven preacher.
Daniel Day-Lewis plays fierceness and rock-solid determination and gravitas very well.
For so great an actor, as everyone keeps calling him, you would think he would have more emotional range and layering to his portrayals.
Ironically, that’s the genius of this movie.
Day-Lewis had me completely convinced that Daniel Plainview’s love for his boy was keeping his soul from rotting completely.
But, ultimately it is revealed that his character becomes a hate-filled greedy monster intent on killing the competition. Literally, if necessary.
The film is a timely depiction of the origin of the gas companies that today dominate the newspapers and the gasoline price signs.
Though the film is set in the late 1800s to early 1900s, today’s “religious right” is represented also in this film by a charismatic, ambitious and corrupt preacher who tries to force Plainview to do his will.
Both men are after power and money.
Both resort to degrees of physical violence.
The showdown between these two men centers on Plainview forcing the preacher to be baptized, and the oilman getting his revenge in forcing the preacher to admit that he’s a false prophet, and that God Himself is a “superstition.”
The beginnings of greedy corrupt oil company power and greedy corrupt televangelist power are on major display in this film–both preying on the hopes and dreams of everyday people.
I felt that the music was too much trying to carry the film, but it could also be seen as an opera, with moving picture art flowing past you–especially in the dramatic scenes of the oil derrick blowing up.
In the end, the portrait is of a greedy desperate liar and murderer in his mansion–alone. This is what this man became because he followed greed, hated people, and rejected God.
The ending less than “bowled” me over.
Definitely worth watching.