There Will Be Blood

From the first sound in the first scene of this film, the soundtrack is awful.  It is noisy and doesn’t fit the action at all.  Even when the music is interesting, as it sometimes is, it is in the wrong place.  It goes from unabashed noise effects to classical and modern 20th Century music.  Now if only the screen were blank and one did not have to watch this train wreck of a movie, it would have been a little more interesting.  I have no doubt there are men like oil baron Daniel Plainview, played by Daniel Day-Lewis.  His name, itself, sums up much of the movie.  Plainview is anything but what he seems.  He is a ruthless conniver for whom greed is as natural as drawing breath.  He has no romantic interest, no friends, will say whatever he has to say to move his agenda forward. 

Daniel Day-Lewis has a best actor Oscar nomination for his role, and I can’t argue that.  He does turn in a strong performance.  But it is like polishing a rotten apple.  Give me an average performance in an enjoyable movie over a strong performance in a ponderous one any day.

The directing is awful, the mood lighting is hard to watch.  To somehow think you have to make a scruffy visual to match a period piece makes no sense.  There were no movies at the turn of the 20th century in any case, so why not just make it easy to watch.  No matter. That would not have saved this film.

A character study that belongs more in an abnormal psychology text than on the screen sucking up my time and money, this is a mish mash of hammer hitting nail again and again to show how, in each situation he faces, the only real character being drawn is a one dimensional fraud. 

How Paul Thomas Anderson got nominated for best picture and best director is incomprehensible to me.  Perhaps his techniques and scene studies make some sense in the abstract, but the direction is poor in terms of why I go to the movies.  Entertain me.  Make me feel good, or reflective;  make me ponder the meaning of life or love or human nature.  But don’t leave me gasping for air when I hit the street because I can’t believe I sat through two and a half hours of pain.

I could have done better things with my time, like eat some worms, chain smoke four packs of cigarettes or cut off my toes.