Friday, 18 February 2011

Review: There Will Be Blood

It is difficult to know where to start when reviewing a film such as There Will Be Blood, for there are no standout elements, no suitable comparisons, and no single person responsible. Nonetheless, at the risk of sounding trite...

Director Paul Thomas Anderson demonstrates total patience and absolute trust in the story, in every element thereof, from the characters to the setting to the themes. The result is a film which is best appreciated not as a film, but rather as an experience: something to privately carry with you, to ruminate on, to learn from. Accordingly, it is perhaps not the seeming miscarriage of justice that No Country For Old Men won Best Picture over There Will Be Blood, for although the two share many trappings, the structuring, pace, and characterisation of the former are more in line with contemporary cinematic tastes.

There Will Be Blood
represents a standard of storytelling, taste and craft that has not been seen since Kubrick's work of the 60's and 70's. Indeed, in certain aspects, the piece feels like Kubrick's lost Western. The actors and technicians on this film do exemplary work at the peak of their ability, and many of them have been rightly applauded for their contributions. Ultimately, however, the film transcends the medium, and it is Paul Thomas Anderson who steps away from the confines of what one would normally consider a cinematic director's role into something more significant. Beyond the mere process of creative decision-making, through this film PTA has become a modern-day teller of parables. His mission is not merely to make a enthralling film, but to lay down universal truths and human laws, to educate, to elevate.

With this film, PTA has granted Hollywood a grace with which to redeem itself. If the studios can step up to this challenge, he may eventually be proven the saviour of modern American cinema.

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