LOG: There Will Be Blood

I am reminded of Bill Cosby's joke of how his son was "in charge of running touchdowns." Daniel Day-Lewis is clearly in charge of winning Oscars. The films he appears in automatically assume the status of events, and the scripts and directors he chooses earn (or further cement) their importance by their association to Him.
Lewis' performance here should then be surprising to none. As a P. T. Anderson movie, Blood is huge news for anyone who might have doubted that the director could go the distance. For all it's unproven (if suspected) faults, Blood clearly indicates that Anderson will have more important work in him.

The music had me thinking about cringing in a few spots, but more often than not it worked in jarring contrast with the hyper-real images of Robert Elswit, who announced himself with Anderson's Boogie Nights, and has since gone on to be, for my money, one of the top five American DPs in the game. He has since worked with the likes of Mamet and Scorsese, and this got him his well-deserved first Oscar trophy.

As has been noted, the import and staying power of There Will Be Blood will reveal itself in time, so I will reserve any judgment. Suffice it to say, Paul Dano sticks out like a a throbbing sore thumb against the aggro perfection of Lewis, and his casting may eventually be revealed as one of the films major weaknesses. This is completely corroborated by the report that Dano was originally cast only in the small role of Paul Sunday, not of both Paul and Eli.

That being said, as ever, Lewis' movie is Lewis' show, and he never, ever dissapoints. And, by virtue of Lewis' blessing, Anderson makes a quantum leap in style and substance from upstart indie quirk to proud, American spectacle, lavish, grand and reveling in tragic, simmering emotional heft. Next time out, Anderson will no longer have Lewis as his crutch, and his film's thrust will once again have to be born out of his own self. Then, there will be judgment.

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