THERE WILL BE BLOOD - (2007, Paul Thomas Anderson)
Paul Thomas Anderson has become a mature filmmaker. And THERE WILL BE BLOOD is his master American story. A tragic tale of a petty man who uses everyone and everything around him to assure his standing in the world.
Daniel Day-Lewis' Oscar winning performance is the soul of this film. The heart, if you will, of a heartless man. We are never given the full story of Daniel Plainview, but only glimpses into the soul, cracks and fissures, like the ones where Plainview finds his oil. His life blood. It is suitably black and dangerous.
Visually, I now wish I'd seen this on the big screen. The vast American landscape of the 1900's is one that I am attracted to. My father was born in Oklahoma in 1913. His father and uncles worked on oil rigs. I kept looking for glimpses of my ancestors in the blackened faces of these men.
Plainview's son H.W. (Dillon Freasier), is an angelic wonder. A gentle face and soul juxtaposed with Daniel's rugged, vacant eyes...stunning.
Other characters surface to challenge Plainview's plan, world, family, etc. Each of them meet some tragic end crossing the path of this soulless man. And in the end, Plainview is left alone in his castle by the sea. I thought of Hearst and San Simeon. Charles Foster Kane. These men live in legend and in fact throughout America's painful, tragic history. Daniel Plainview is now one of these men.
The one problem I had with this film was the score. It jarred me and removed me from the story every time. And the use of my favorite, soulful, romantic Beethoven was tantamount to sin for me. It showed a lack of care from Anderson...or a lack of understanding how sound and music are truly essential to some movie viewers. Like me.
All in all, THERE WILL BE BLOOD is a good picture. And time may show it to be a great one. Definitely deserving of the accolades it received last year.