Ok guys, time to push your ironically taped glasses up on your ironically front facing noses because we have a super serious director looking to adapt a super serious author’s super serious book about a super serious detective who super ironically smokes weed while super seriously trying to solve super serious mysteries and we’re not being ironic about all of this. We’re super serious, ironically.
Paul Thomas Anderson has been at work trying to adapt Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice into a feature film since his Scientology movie The Master was indefinitely shelved. Anderson is one of the most heralded filmmakers working today and Pynchon has joined the ranks of World’s Greatest Writers That Like To Be Left Alone, Dangit. Combine that with the fact that, for a filmmaker, Anderson is pretty paranoid as well, they seem to go hand in hand. Also consider the fact that they both create highly dense stories with a ton of characters that are very dark and moody - we wonder why this has hasn’t happened sooner.
Though to be fair, Anderson has differentiated himself by making a movie about porn and by dating former SNL star Maya Rudolph.
Inherent Vice follows a pothead detective as he navigates the Los Angeles area in the late 60s. Robert Downey Jr has been mentioned in hush tones as the possible lead, but who doesn’t want RDJ as a lead? Everyone wants a piece of that pie. And if this adaptation ever does come to fruition no one is quite sure what direction Anderson will take it (considering he started out with Upton Sinclair’s Oil! and ended up with There Will Be Blood.) But either way, we’re sure it will be super serious and you shouldn’t enjoy it ironically, man. This is art and I drink it up. Like a milkshake, boy.
For the first several minutes of There Will Be Blood--just a small portion of its 160--there is no dialogue. Then Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) strikes oil. The year is 1898 and as time jumps ahead Plainview is soon no longer struggling to make ends meet. By the turn of the 20th century the oil prospector is something of a traveling salesman in California getting local farmers to give up their land so he can drill with his young adopted son/gimmick (Dillon Freasier) in tow. Until that is he stumbles upon a goldmine: a rural farm teeming with oil just beneath it. He promises to make the landowners the Sunday family as rich as he himself will become as a result. But the landowner’s teenage son Eli (Paul Dano) a highly religious evangelist doesn’t much care for money. In fact he doesn’t much care for Daniel his motives or his ungodliness and looks to cure him of these ills at which Daniel scoffs. The two clash on more than one occasion before not seeing each other for a while. At the end of the movie the year is 1927. Daniel is now a madman oil tycoon/recluse living off of his riches and exploitations stumbling about his oil-made mansion with alcohol in hand. He’s a shred of his former self only much wealthier. In walks his old buddy/adversary Eli who sobers him right up. As complicated a thespian god as Daniel Day-Lewis has always been in his career his acting skill has been consistently and easily the best. Every performance of his is great to the same degree and Daniel Plainview a character unlike any he has ever played is no exception. The actor known for his long breaks between movies and his Method-like transformations is so powerful here that his performance is as responsible for the tone as any of director Paul Thomas Anderson’s work. Day-Lewis can often be heard delivering diatribes on humanity in There Will Be Blood typically while sporting a devilish grin more disturbing than the film’s most violent scenes. It makes you wonder: Who would even want to go so deep into a character so dark? But the minutiae of Plainview--the walk the demeanor the misanthropy--round out Day-Lewis’ incredible performance more than the spoken words. Young actor Paul Dano (Little Miss Sunshine) is equally intense as Plainview’s pious opponent/lightning rod and maybe more--maybe just maybe his innermost demon. It’s a performance worthy of a Supporting Actor nod but ultimately this is Day-Lewis’ show. There Will Be Blood is the cliché of an auteur fighting for his art as evidenced by its length and obtuseness; otherwise though it is the anti-cliché (and anti-crowd pleaser). For that we can thank--yes thank--Paul Thomas Anderson who as his three other well-known films (Boogie Nights Magnolia and Punch-Drunk Love) hinted was probably dying for a film of this limitless grandeur. While Anderson’s adaptation of Upton Sinclair’s Oil! could be seen as a veiled allegorical wink to modernism it’s really a story about an oilman the money that his oil hath wrought and the demons that swirl around him and his religious detractors. Anderson the genius writer has conjured up a tale of evil family and greed as well as a religiosity/secularism push/pull that is at once opaque and crystal clear. Anderson the genius director frames a story that is beautiful and horrifying neither of which is ever mutually exclusive. The highly deliberate writer-director clearly values quality over quantity and he got both out of this movie an epic masterpiece in a career so young. There Will Be Blood also has this year’s far-and-away best score from Radiohead guitarist/electronics mastermind Jonny Greenwood which fills in any empty spots of weirdness and/or tension left vacant by Anderson and maximizes such spots elsewhere. Anderson now has shot to the No. 1 spot on the Hollywood-outlaw list with this absolute non-adventure of epic proportions. He is utterly unconcerned with any sort of expectations--from audiences or studios. Hell you could even call it a bit of a f-you to everyone except his fans and cinephiles. Congrats PTA!
Filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson's movie epic There Will Be Blood has been named Best Film by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.
The film, based on the book Oil! by Upton Sinclair, also garnered three other honors: Best Actor for Daniel Day-Lewis, Best Director for Anderson and Best Production Design for Jack Fisk.
Marion Cotillard's portrayal of singer Edith Piaf in La Vie En Rose won her the Best Actress accolade, while Amy Ryan was praised for her performance in Gone Baby Gone, taking home the Best Supporting Actress award.
Elsewhere, Romanian abortion drama 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days repeated its success at the Cannes Film Festival to be named Best Foreign Language Film, while star Vlad Ivanov took home the prize for Best Supporting Actor.
The Los Angeles Film Critics Association honours are one of the first groups to voice their opinions on the year's biggest winners in the buildup to the Academy Awards nominations announcement in January.
COPYRIGHT 2007 WORLD ENTERTAINMENT NEWS NETWORK LTD. All Global Rights Reserved.