So I finally got around to renting and watching the critically acclaimed, award winning opus of oilman (well, he likes to think of himself as an oilman) Daniel Plainview. I was excited. I thought the movie looked excellent, and I heard good things from people that I trust. I never got a chance to see it in theaters, so the wifey and I rented it on Blu-Ray and devoted our night to it.
You definitely have to devote a night to it. Maybe a few nights, to be honest. We watched a couple hours or more of it. In the time it took us to watch it, it felt like I could have watched the director’s edition of Das Boot.
Simply put, this movi…err…film, spins it’s wheels for about 150 minutes. Nothing…ever…happens. The dialogue is banal and the characters delivering those lines inspire absolutely no emotions from the viewer. It is awful hard for me to find a movie in which there is not a single character that I can cheer for or against. This is one of them. Daniel Plainview (played by Daniel Day Lewis who won an Oscar for his performance) is an oilman (well, he likes to think of himself as an oilman). At the start, he is just a regular old oilman (well, he likes to think of himself as an oilman), and at the end, he is just a drunk oilman. His son and partner, H.W. Plainview, starts off as a young boy. Then he goes deaf. At the end, he is still deaf. There was really no reason for his character to exist. In all honesty, I don’t know why any of the characters were in this movie, because they all are existing in separate realities. Whatever character intersections there are prove to be moribund and completely uninteresting, and the different sections of the film feel like independent vignettes that, at no point, are leading us to a larger point or climax. There Will Be Blood assfucks you with anticlimax from the first scene on, and it does it quite ineffectively because at no point in it’s runtime do you feel anything but complete and unmitigated apathy for the characters.
The film also won an Oscar for best photography, which is fine, although any schmuck with a working eyeball and a viewfinder could reproduce the stunning visuals in this film, as it is set in gorgeous scenery that appeared to be blessed by unbelievable natural lighting. A film’s photographer cannot control the clouds or the sun. All he can do is capture, and this guy did a fine job of that.
The only bright point of this movie I can think of is the score/soundtrack/whatever. It was really the only thing that stuck out or piqued my interest at all. Had I know the “story” and the picture itself were going to be so completely and utterly disinteresting, I would have just downloaded the score and listened to it through headphones and saved 90 minutes of my life.
For those of you fortunate enough to have not watched this, do yourself a favor and don’t. If you want to watch a contemporary film that actually has something to say and does anticlimax correctly, rent No Country For Old Men.
There Will Be Blood is a turd.