Watching There Will Be Blood tonight completes my attempt to watch all five movies nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award this year. I don't remember a year when I actually did that.
Anyway, let's get to the movie. I am having a hard time figuring out how I felt about it. I'll start with what I liked.
1) Daniel Day Lewis as Daniel Plainview. The man can do no wrong, and in every movie, I forget he is the actor. How is this the same man who played in Last of the Mohicans? And more recently I watched him in A Room with A View, where, again, you can't even imagine it is the same actor. I can see a little of Bill the Butcher in him, since they are both greasy, hairy, slightly crazy, greedy, and power-hungry.
2) The setting. I enjoyed the small country town setting, where the church is central, but the town is so poor they don't have bread to eat (due to the dry climate, they can't grow anything to make bread). They are desperate, so they let this oil-man invade their town (and by the end, we see how it affects some of the citizens).
3) H.W. Plainview, Daniel's son. His was really the sad story in all this, and you find your self rooting for him (mainly by default, since there aren't many likable characters in the story).
4) Paul Dano as Eli Sunday. Alright, I have to admit that I kept thinking of The Girl Next Door because I watched it a couple of weeks ago. He was good in Little Miss Sunshine, but he was still a kid. I was impressed at his taking on this seemingly very difficult and very adult role, and pulling it off quite well. His performance as the preacher really creeped me out.
Now, I am not sure what I think of these things:
1) The ending. I won't say anything about it. I had heard some complaints about the ending before I watched it. Here is the deal: I don't know if I got it. Or maybe there isn't anything to get? I prefer stories with more redemptive endings, I guess.
2) The adaptation. I didn't realize this was so loosely adapted from the book (Oil! by Upton Sinclair). I almost don't feel like it should have been considered for Best Adapted Screenplay. I haven't read the book Oil! but I wanted to read it after viewing the movie, only to discover (by others' comments and synopses) that it isn't really the same story. Not to say that I have a problem with the VERY loose adaptation, it just means that I can't read the book for clarification on the story.
All that being said, I enjoyed watching it, but don't know if I love the story. The directing, acting, cinematography, etc. were spectacular. If not for the story, check it out for these many other reasons.