There will be Bewilderment

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I finally went to see There will be Blood after much deliberating and a great deal of skepticism about the rave reviews it had received. I came out of the cinema not really knowing what to make of it.

It’s certainly an interesting film with enough plot twists to sustain your attention, but there seems to be too much unfinished business by the end and lack of clarity in the narrative that leaves the viewer somewhat frustated and bewildered.

On the acting side however, Daniel Day-Lewis is excellent as the eccentric oil prospector Daniel Plainview who puts profits before people. An incredibly versatile actor, one thing you can’t accuse him of is being typecast. The film is perhaps a little too long at around two hours and twenty minutes and the ending is rather strange and unexpected. Set in early 20th century California amidst the US oil boom, the harshness of the dry inhospitable landscape is emaphasised throughout. The interplay and build-up tension between Day-Lewis as businessman and Paul Dano’s young firebrand preacher is also played off to great effect, a theme which is present throughout the film. There’s almost certainly an element of social comment on the American dream and the rags to riches ideal so typical of the US pioneering spirit. Perhaps also a subconscious allusion to the war in Iraq in terms of the economic value of oil and the bitter human cost.

So on the whole, just like No Country for Old Men I would recommend There will be Blood as worth going to see, but would point out that it’s not quite as amazingly good as the critics have made it out to be.

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2 comments

  1. Go for it, Chekov! I’m sure the erudite atmosphere of University Square and a post-screening discussion in Duke’s over a tipple or two will be quite the ticket.

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