Sunday, May 22, 2016

There Will Be Blood Review

I would love to believe that anyone who stumbles upon my reviews will feel compelled to read every word, but I am not that naive. We live in a fast world that is only getting faster, with a wealth of knowledge at our fingertips, and often times the entire reputation of a film hinges on a percentage score based on the consensus. Such convenience and simplicity signals the downfall of nuance, the absence of a desire to gather information and try to piece together the bigger picture or even to make up ones own mind prior to forming a bias. Who needs to dig deeper when nothing more than a number is capable of telling them whether something is good or bad?

Sure, this is a criticism of modern society but I am both pointing the finger and the thumb. Have I, too, clicked on a review and scrolled down to the bottom in order to obtain a quick recommendation? You bet. Of course I have, and whether fair or not fair, with some films that feels good enough. Some, though, deserve more. So much more. I have seen thousands of movies and there are only so many ways to describe them, and much like the sparseness of words there are only 11 possible scores between 0 and 5. When you come across a work so inspired, so utterly brilliant that it serves as a reminder of the potential of art to move you, does a handful of words and a number paint a good enough portrait of such an experience? Doesn't cinema like that deserve more?

There Will Be Blood. Read every fucking word you can, because all of them still isn't enough. How often can you witness something so original, so bold, and so fiercely, beautifully strange? Not often enough. This is a sprawling epic about power and greed and the dark and deranged core of capitalism. A picture that celebrates but is not limited to the power of performance art, as we can bask in the sublime perfection that is Daniel Day Lewis in the lead as Daniel Plainview and the supporting genius of Paul Dano as the young preacher Eli Sunday, yet it isn't as if they are asked to carry the picture but rather blend seamlessly into the overall masterful vision of director Paul Thomas Anderson. Often times I will be so wowed by a performance that the remaining aspects of the experience play second fiddle, and as such I will celebrate the achievement of one over the collective whole. There Will Be Blood is a masterpiece through and through, a work that defines what the final result should look and feel like when everything comes together. A celebration of the collective whole. A celebration of what the medium is capable of.

If we are to believe in the notion that much of our world no longer craves nuance, There Will Be Blood is the antithesis of this. It's a work of art that transcends convenience or simplicity, and no words I write or number I rate it could do it justice. There is this delicate, delicious balance between sincerity and madness that this picture manages to flawlessly navigate thanks to the gorgeous photography from Robert Elswit, the musical score from Radiohead's Johnny Greenwood and the indescribable talent of Paul Thomas Anderson, whom was clearly inspired stylistically by Stanley Kubrick, especially during a final showdown sequence in a bowling alley that not only feels overwhelmingly Kubrickian but also quite literally pays homage to his science fiction masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey with a familiar camera angle and violent action.

There Will Be Blood. See the film, read every word ever written about it and then see it again. Study it. Bathe in every frame because it's a movie that deserves that kind of attention. That and so much more.



  1. It saddens me that a film is only a score in this modern day. That's why a phase of my blog didn't have scores. I wanted people to go out and see movies based on how excited I sounded within my review. Sadly, I regressed back, but the rating system does help me understand the film better. I think the most recent example is BvS. Whatever you thought about the film, there's no denying that people are shiting on the film based on the RT score. I've actually met a few guys who say the worst things about the movie, and when I ask them what they didn't like about the movie they say they haven't seen it because of the rotten tomatoes score. Grr. If you're going to make a decision at least have the decency to watch the film and form your own opinion!
    Sorry, rant over.P.s. that felt good.

    1. Yeah I know what you mean, I have wondered about going with no scores but being completely honest, I feel like people wouldn't be as interested in checking out my stuff because of what I wrote about, that many want to read a sentence or two and then see if the score is high.

      Even if a film looks truly terrible, I will still say that even though it appears to be a mess, I can't really say anything because I haven't seen it yet. It's absurd to form an opinion without even watching it.

  2. I actually watched There Will be Blood by accident the first time I saw it. I was in the living room waiting for someone I think, and my roommate came in to watch Netflix. I said he wouldn't be bothering me if he turned something on and boom! There Will Be Blood was what he chose. Turned out I stayed down with him for the whole film and was absolutely blown away. This film is so spectacular that I can't rewatch it that often for the simple fact that it stays with you forever. That milkshake speech alone was one of the best scenes in all of film. Completely agree with you!

    1. Love that you love it so much Cody! It's a work of true genius.