Thursday, July 16, 2009

Movies I've Watched: There Will Be Blood

Yes, I am a little late to that game. I always am with these big Oscar movies. The main reason is that they rarely ever make it to Honduran theaters. And when they do, I usually can't be bothered to go to a theater. Or to the video story. Because I am a lazy bum and have no car. Or much money. So I wait until one of the movie channels plays them. At least then I can get them after all the hoopla surrounding them has gone away and I can watch them in peace, knowing that all the pretentious discussion is in the past.

And oh boy I can only imagine the high levels of Hipster Debate that were achieved by talking about this movie.

As for me, I...I don't think I liked it. I mean, it was an impressive movie with some amazing performances, but two things kept me from really enjoying it. First let me just say that I really do love all sorts of movies. Happy, sad, depressing, ridiculous, I don't have a set of requirements for what makes a good movie in my mind. But I'm not a big fan of bleakness. And this was one of the bleakest films I have ever seen in my life. It was soul crushing. There was nothing in it that wasn't depressing. I suppose that was sort of the point, but movies like these just make me want to change the channel and watch some Spongebob Squarepants.

So the bleakness was one. The other was the "music". It wasn't even music. It was one note of a violin held shriekingly for 5 minutes, digging into my brain with its maddening monotony as I begged for something to change. I had to mute the tv a couple of times because I just couldn't take it anymore. And then the shrieking violin would change for the repeated banging of a drum in the same monotonous manner like that leaking faucet that keeps you awake all night. It was just horrible. It's what I imagine the soundtrack of a nightmare would be. I'm not trying to be poetic here, it was just that awful. I'm really freakin sensitive when it comes to sounds (whistling is the art of satan) and I really couldn't take the music in this movie for very long. I am so glad I never saw this in the theater--it probably would have led me to murder. And it was just really distracting from the rest of the movie. I felt like the action itself was tense enough, adding the extra tension with the music just seemed like overkill to me.

But, wow, the performances. Just wow. I heard rants and raves about Daniel Day Lewis, but nothing ever came close to just how freakin magnificent he is in this movie. Everything from the way he spoke to how he moved was just so perfect and meticulous and it just completely blew me away. He was terrifying. There is nothing better than when a character just seems to pop out of the screen at you out of the sheer presence of the actor. Not many people have done that, but this is the second time DDL has done it in my mind. The other was Gangs of New York, but he was far better in this.

And I'm surprised that I heard so little about Paul Dano's performance back when everyone was talking about this movie. Because, damn. He was just so good. Magnetic and powerful, with those big sad eyes of his. I hope he gets a lot more work in the future. He's so good.

So overall, a good movie, but very weird. Bleak. Violent. Technically impressive. More impressive, bizarre work from PT Anderson. Magnolia is still my favorite movie of his, and I wish that this movie had had a little bit more insight into the characters, like Magnolia did. Anyway, it made me think, and look at this huge rant it made me write.

Though I have to confess I decided to write it because a) I'm sick of writing about the situation in Honduras (still the same! still scary! politicians still suck!) and b) I'm putting off the review for Ender's Game because I have no idea how to write it. I hate reviewing classics.


Sin said...

so you don't like bleak but you loved slumdog millionaire? actually, i'm probably alone on the slumdog millionaire thing, but i thought it was the most depressing movie i've ever seen (right up there with requiem for a dream). the ending did not make up for the rest of it. that said, i have not seen this movie :)

Mr. Controversy said...

The only good part of that movie was "the scene". Other than that, I seriously thought it was heavy handed, overblown, and boring as fuck. If standing around, looking menacing, and yelling "I Drink Your Milkshake" is Oscar winning; then I could have had six Oscars by now. =P

True story, I saw this during the Best Picture Showcase in 2008 and both this and Juno made me wanna die.

Figgylicious said...

Sin, Slumdog Millionaire was depressing but NOT bleak ;). TWBB was it's just the kind of movie that just makes you want to kill yourself from despair. There's NOTHING happy about that movie. Slumdog had at least some funny bits and...people who acted decently.

Mr. C: I still haven't seen Juno. I'm not sure I want to. And...I almost gave up on watching TWBB but I kept waiting for the damned milkshake scene. What the hell was THAT?

Eyvi Sprite said...

Figgy, you took the words right out of my mouth. This movie made depressing look like a frakkin' celebration. DDL turned in a fantastically freaky performance (rarely have I hated a character so passionately) but the reward of witnessing an actor who has such a powerful gift did not make up for the weight of this movie. While I can appreciate it's technical merit, I do not, for the life of me, get the appeal. It's good to know I'm not alone.

My husband loved it. Go figure.