Tuesday, May 12, 2009

There Will Be Blood



A great movie with an equally great title. Ash and I watched it last night after avoiding it for quite some time. Like "Hotel Rwanda" and "Crash" for others, this was just one of those movies you order from Netflix that you know is going to be good, but that is just too heavy to pop in the old DVD player after a long day at work.
Director Paul Thomas Anderson will pretty much get a lifetime coolness pass from me for making "Boogie Nights", but "There Will Be Blood" solidifies my theory about PTA's work. He either makes easy-to-follow fare like "Boogie Nights" and "Hard Eight" or head-scratching works of high-minded storytelling like "Magnolia." "There Will Be Blood" falls squarely in the second category.
In this solid review by Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post she distills his genius thus:
Paul Thomas Anderson becomes California's certified cinematic poet laureate with "There Will Be Blood," his masterful account of the state's oil boom at the turn of the century.
On the heels of Anderson's previous films "Boogie Nights" and "Magnolia," both of which chronicled the recent history and culture of Los Angeles and its environs, Anderson has now joined the ranks of such definitive California writers as Nathanael West and Joan Didion in crafting his own personal and potent version of the state's creation myth. If "There Will Be Blood" represents a reach back into time for a filmmaker whose canvas has always been contemporary, it is also unquestionably an ambitious leap forward, proving that Anderson is an artist of virtually unlimited range and confidence.

(Also as a bonus I learned the words "sanguinary", "febrile" and "mendacity" by reading this review.)
As it was released at nearly the same time with a very similar tone and style, I expected to compare "There Will Be Blood" with the Coen Brothers' masterpiece "No Country For Old Men." Luckily, they stand on their own as separate visions.

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