There Will Be Boredom

by vpundir | February 21st, 2008

A £10 ticket at Curzon Soho got me into a screening of the much talked-about There Will Be Blood. I came out thinking what a waste of money it was.

Don’t get me wrong, this is a mildly interesting movie; I would rather have waited for the DVD though…in fact, I would have waited for the DVD to become available on Amazon for $3.99

The plot about oil and greed in the West is an interesting one, and in some ways contemporary (though the movie is set at the turn of the last century). However, I suspect that the book makes for a far more interesting reading than the film makes for a viewing. That said, I haven’t read the book, so take that comment with a grain of salt and don’t blame me if you buy the book and it turns out to be as bland.

Here’s the problem: As a thriller, it lacks pace. It lacks suprises and twists in the tale. Essentially, it lacks the thrills. As a drama, it lacks drama. And there was absolutely no need for it to be this long (almost 2 hrs 40 mts).

By half-time one starts to wish for the film to get over so one can get out of the hall and do something meaningful. And let me assure you, having watched numerous Bollywood capers, I’ve sat through really long films.

The high point for me is Eli’s payback, when Daniel has to join his church. It’s interesting how getting into the fold of religion could feel like a sell-out.

The British press is slating Daniel Day-Lewis as the frontrunner for Best Actor Oscar. I don’t know if that’s true or if the press is going crazy just because he is a Brit.

Maybe I am too thick in the skull to appreciate fine cinema, but I found his performance more wooden than understated. If rolling about in grime and slick is all there’s to acting, then maybe he’s the best actor of the year (though I have a feeling that there must be some video of Lindsay Lohan or Paris Hilton mud-wrestling or oil-wrestling somewhere on the Internet). But I suspect there’s more to it, and Day-Lewis falls way short of furnishing the menacing quality that the Plainview character demands. He does have a couple of moments in the last third of the film, but those are just flashes in the pan.

Henry Brands is a long way for Kevin O’Connor from The Mummy‘s Beni. And yet, in his treachery, the character is strangely similar to Beni.

Paul Dano is mostly efficient as Paul/Eli Sunday, though occasionally he does show a jagged edge. As an aside, one can’t help but notice a bit of Ed Norton’s character from Primal Fear in Eli.

The sound effects are good. But that’s what we’ve come to expect ever since Dolby and DTS were introduced. And there was absolutely no turning back after Saving Private Ryan.

The mining accidents quickly get repetitive and banal.

The background score is jarring on more than one occasion. And not intentionally either.

Maybe this film will end up sweeping the Oscars this year, and maybe it will even go on to become a modern classic, but I came out unimpressed. Wait for the $3.99 DVD on Amazon.

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