There will be blood. That’s what I said when the movie was over. So this was directed by Richard Dean Anderson – uh, sorry, Paul Thomas Anderson. He’s the guy that directed BOOGIE NIGHTS. I’d rather have seen this directed by MacGyver, actually. Everybody loved MacGyver. That guy could do anything with a foil gum wrapper, a paper clip, a rubber band, and a little bit of ingenuity. Paul Thomas Anderson, however, needed 2 hours and 38 minutes of film to tell us that greed is bad. Hey, thanks for the heads up, man.
Anderson also directed MAGNOLIA, which I didn’t see. I heard mixed things, but I won’t see it on principle because I have Tom Cruise issues. Be that as it may, I did kinda like BOOGIE NIGHTS, but I wouldn’t say I loved it. Oh, and he did that movie, PUNCH DRUNK LOVE, with Adam Sandler in his first so-called dramatic role. I didn’t exactly hate it. Take that back-handed recommendation as you will.
THERE WILL BE BLOOD is full of great production design, and even the performances are actually pretty good. But this movie is WAY too long, and the music is like a cross between folk/Americana and an industrial garage band from the early ‘80’s. It’s really jarring. Ninety minutes in I started to get a headache.
The story is about American oil man, Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) in the early 1900’s. He goes to this town, buys a bunch of people’s land and builds oil wells on them. He makes tons of money, and screws people in the town out of the money he promised them, in particular this young preacher, Eli Sunday (portrayed by Paul Dano). Plainview is a dick.
The preacher says early on that he should bless the first oil well in the town, but of course Plainview has no intent of letting him do that even though he said Sunday could, because Plainview is a godless oil man. After that, some bad stuff happens, including Plainview’s son going deaf and the well catching fire. Eli Sunday says it wouldn’t have happened if he had been able to bless the well. If Anderson had some message there, it didn’t make much impact on me. It is constantly smothered by the whole, “greed is bad” thing.
At one point in the film, Plainview has a speech where he actually says how much he hates people. Wow. Big evil oil baron swindles the little townsfolk. Wait; “oil baron”? Hey, that’s a timely subject, isn’t it? Giant oil corporations are evil, right? Thanks again, Anderson, for the brick to the head. If you’d take a break from beating me with it, you might see how tedious and long-winded your movie has become.
Eventually, Plainview ends up one of those half mad, drunken millionaires that has a room in his mansion devoted to shooting furniture and stuff with a shotgun, when he’s not passed out drunk in the middle of his two lane bowling alley. If the previous two and a half hours wasn’t enough for you to figure out that Plainview is a complete monster, the last scene should drive it home.
This movie was nominated for eight, yes EIGHT Academy Awards, including best picture and best director. I am completely vexed.
Well, see you folks in line for popcorn, or maybe a hot dog. But I’ll only eat it with Stadium Mustard on it. That’s ok, I’ll bring my own.