There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007)

Sooooo close to living up to the nearly-impossible-to-live-up-to hype I gave to it, but ultimately falling just short (to be fair, though, this was the movie i was looking forward to more than just about any in at least the past couple of years, so any expectations couldn’t possibly be met). Daniel Day-Lewis deserves all the praise he’s gotten, as ham-handed as his performance may seem (it’s clear that realism, especially towards the end, isn’t the point of his performance, but rather to just seethe emotion, which he excels at). Paul Thomas Anderson has completely honed his skills as a visionary filmmaker since his experimentations in Boogie Nights and Magnolia to create a stunning piece of cinema in terms of its aesthetics, its look, and in creating a time and place in an absolutely compelling way. And as false as Daniel Plainview may seem, his final confrontations with his son and with Eli Sunday are tragic, terrifying, and far too telling of where greed can take a person. My problem, though, is that such an awe-inspiring and shocking (in a great way) finale, and a perfectly appropriate fate (and last line) by Daniel just didn’t feelearned: not by the viewer, not by the director, not by Daniel Plainview. The movie just felt a little uneven in the middle (not nearly as uneven as something like Assassination of Jesse James, though)…too many moments of soliloquy and philosophical grandeur that didn’t quite feel genuine to me, so that the lead-up wasn’t quite worthy of a more-than-satisfying conclusion. Great film, not quite a masterpiece. I’m finished 😛

9/10

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