There Will Always Be Blood March 25, 2008Posted by astralwicks in Acting, America, Blogging, Culture, Entertainment, Films, india, Movies, Reviews, Thoughts, Writing.
Tags: daniel day lewis, film review, hard eight, magnolia, p.t.anderson, paul dano, punch drunk love, there will be blood review
Hard Eight. Boogie Nights. Magnolia. Punch Drunk Love. There Will Be Blood.
Boogie Nights was the first film that I saw of Mr. Anderson. I, like most others, was suitably impressed. To be true, more than impressed. After 3 hours, I, and most of us friends had discovered a film maker. It is very important – these discoveries to take place. Otherwise the age stagnates. The films, the frames, the actors, the art…all of it can stay top notch, but the feel is not there. The frames are too perfect. The art is too slick. The acting is too bang on. Everything might be right and yet nothing touches you.
P.T. Anderson changed all of that. Just like Tarantino. It was sad, traumatic, uplifting, funny, hilarious all at one go. The technique, meaning, heart, humanism all in tandem. Rare, we thought and applauded.
Next came Magnolia. The impression stayed and was in fact, solidified. There was admiration. If Antonioni dealt with the ‘architecture of relationships’ in the 60’s and further, similarly did Anderson in each of his films, but not in the muted, introspective manner of his predecessor. It was out, upfront, gross, poetic…all evoking a visceral reaction.
Punch Drunk Love was a departure. It still had a protagonist who is trying to figure out his or her space but the sheer simplicity of style (not of content; it has an absurd beginning and some truly bizarre characters) and content (romance) made it quite unlike any of P.T’s previous films. Most of us fell in love with Paul T Anderson. At the same time we also realized that he was not very popular in America. Just like Wes Anderson. Why?
I saw Hard Eight after these 2. A small film, different from all of the above, taut with a great performance by Phillip Baker Hall.
And then came There Will Be Blood. With Daniel Day Lewis as its protagonist, Daniel Plainview. He definitely talks plain in the film – convincing all that he is the best ‘Oil Man’ they can deal with. Because he has a family. Well, a semblance of a family with a kid.
Day Lewis carries the actor’s burden just like other great actors. His Plainview is a tough as nails, always-in-control, articulate, seemingly caring father, who discovers oil and begins a journey that ends in tragedy.
Pitted against the veteran is Paul Dano.
Ambition. The rules of ambition and the pitfalls of ruthless determination. On one hand is Daniel Plainview, capitalism personified, dealing in profits and losses. Nothing can stop his juggernaut. No affection can reign him in. Day Lewis inhabits his character with so much conviction that you believe, probably admire, Plainview’s fanaticism to find oil, riches and conquer all horizons. Plainview seems to be God ordained to follow a path the routes, the pitfalls, gains and losses of which one cannot even guess; forget fathoming.
He hates all and unknown to himself – himself. The world, its people, the land, emotions – everything can be put to the stake by the smooth talking Plainview. There are no obstacles in his path…or so he thinks. Till Paul Dano’s Eli makes his presence felt.
Dano shows prodigious talent against the veteran DDL. Both of them have acted together in the past and it was DDL who recommended the rookie’s name to PT after numerous casting calls proved of no use.
Dano’s Eli is a wannabe preacher. He lead his flock of innocents by acting God-possessed and it is the Oil Man Plainview who sees through Eli right away. Both immediately become enemies. Eli can see the soullessness of Plainview and he in turn can see that Eli is a masquerader.
But as has happened since eternity, business and religion connive at each other; collaborate; flourish; bicker; blackmail and attack each other and in moments of honesty acknowledge that both are false prophets; guided by greed and an insatiable appetite of consumption in an age which gave birth to the phenomenon we all suffer from today.
Religion vs Commerce. The battle is not who will win? But that both will lose. And take down innocents we moderns familiarly call ‘collateral damage’.
I still have reservations to DDL uttering the last line of the film ‘I am finished’. Does he know what he has done? Will Plainview ever know?