Wednesday, December 19, 2007


On Dec 10th, The Barking Irons had the good fortune to attend the premier for P.T. Anderson’s latest film, 'There Will Be Blood'. I would like to offer up a brief impression of the film for those who are yet to see it.

'There Will Be Blood' takes place in the western United States during the 1890’s. It's inspirations were partially based on Upton Sinclair’s novel ‘Oil!’, which is now out of print and quite difficult to find. Anderson wrote the screenplay which sees the anti-hero Daniel Plainview go about his affairs in pursuit of oil, money, blood kin. However these elements are dipped in metaphors for an altogether vibrant comment on men, capitalism, religion and manifest destiny. The main study, I believe, is focused on a man who’s veins course with oil. A capitalist so fully consumed that he ceases to be human. You can see a desire in Plainview to find his blood or his kin or even someone he can trust, but instead he devours the people around him with his saw-toothed anger and his unforgiving standards.

That being said, the character study of Daniel Plainview is nothing short of a spectacle. It is a trance inducing warp that displaced me in such a way I felt genuinely frightened at times. This is also in part (quite largely) due to Daniel Day Lewis’ performance. To that, I’d have to say watching this almost sequel performance to Bill the Butcher, but obviously different and with better direction, should make other performances blush by comparison. It is stunning. The film's score is nothing to forget either. Composed by Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead, the music is at times out of frame and almost abstract. Period sounds of strings and percussion lead you into emotions. Instead of laying on top of the acting and cinematography, the compositions sometimes precede the impending sequence by minutes. This was a brilliant plan. Much of this film reminds me of Citizen Kane, heralded as one of the greatest films ever made. And even from a layman like myself, I can say that this film, this performance is so important that it should be talked about for decades.

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