My lovely wife and I settled in recently to watch the critically acclaimed movie There Will Be Blood.
I read Upton Sinclair's The Jungle about ten years ago just out of general interest and rather enjoyed it, less, of course, the last chapter where the novel devolves into a poorly written socialist manifesto. I was unaware that Sinclair's Oil! was the inspiration for this wretched spectacle. I don't know if knowing this would have kept me from renting the movie, but I wish it had.
I had not seen a Daniel Day Lewis movie, despite strong, heartfelt recommendations from those whose opinion on these matters I respect greatly (namely my wife, my brother and my in-laws), especially My Left Foot and the Last of the Mohicans (though I am not a fan of Cooper). The fact that I would finally get to enjoy an award-winning performance from an actor of this caliber set me to look forward to seeing the movie.
On one score I was not disappointed: despite any coherent plot, the performance of Lewis, his portrayal of the ill-conceived Daniel Plainview, was magnificent. I "bought" his act entirely, I just couldn't figure out for the life of me why any of the principals were doing what they were doing.
At one point in the movie Plainview's adopted son loses his hearing. After that, you may as well turn the movie off. You will have missed nothing and not felt robbed of your rental fee.
I don't want to spoil anything for anyone who might want to waste TWO HOURS AND THIRTY EIGHT MINUTES of his life, so you can peruse the Plot summary from Wikipedia here if you so desire.
Read it again.
That's it. They're not missing anything.
It's as disjointed as a Quentin Tarantino movie but without any of the...what's the word...talent.
My wife fell asleep shortly after the kid loses his hearing and woke up before the final scene. We watched the ultimate act. As the credits ran she asked, "Why did he do that?"
There is no good answer.
The only one who should be more embarrased than Paul Thomas Anderson, who foisted this nonsense upon an undeserving populace, is Manohla Dargis, the New York Times film critic who wrote "the film is above all a consummate work of art, one that transcends the historically fraught context of its making, and its pleasures are unapologetically aesthetic."
Read that again. Especially the second and third clauses.
This movie makes less sense than that drivel.