Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

29 December 2007

Another December Day in Los Angeles; Another Great Movie

Today I saw There Will Be Blood, the new Paul Thomas Anderson film. PTA is the director of four very good films to date (Hard Eight, Boogie Nights, Magnolia and Punch-drunk Love), but There Will Be Blood is a huge departure for Anderson, who has used most of the same actors and musicians in the last four films. Blood is a Western, and a strange, intense, fucked-up Western at that.

Daniel Day-Lewis is a fiercely competitive oil magnate, who is also almost psychotically misanthropic. The role fits Day-Lewis to a tee, but its Anderson's style (in both writing and directing) that really make There Will Be Blood the bizarre masterpiece that it is. I actually don't want to say too much about the film. It's an intensely weird experience, and it may not be everyone's cup of tea. It certainly isn't as irreverent or sad as Anderson's other movies, and it doesn't hook you emotionally in his usual ways. Instead, Blood is creepy, suspenseful, chilling.

It reminded me, more than anything else, of Jean-Pierre Melville. If the opening ten minutes of There Will Be Blood is like the opening ten minutes of any other film I would say it is like Melville's Le Samouraï, and it isn't just because it lacks dialogue for so long. Blood begins with a bizarre, confusing sound, which I can only imagine is intended to jar its audience, much like the out-of-focus opening of Le Samouraï.

I don't want to say anything more about There Will Be Blood. I need to see it again. And probably a third time.