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Old May 19th, 2008, 04:29 PM   #1
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"There Will Be Blood" - RANT

So I watched it last night with the wife and we were both extremely disappointed. I can't understand why this film got so much praise. The Cinematography was great, but otherwise its probably the worst film I've seen in a while. A couple of things really urked me:

1. The score: The first half of the movie is crazy overpowering synthesizers creating constant tension even in calm scenes. The rest of the film is just sparse orchestration here and there?
2. The acting: Sure it was great, But every freakin scene was way over the top drama?
3. The Actual Story: So the whole film is just about the Protaganist's determination and paranoia? I know this isn't a first for a movie, but with all the suspense created by the over-the-top music and acting I expected some sort of sequence to unfold.......it never happened, just a tidy little depressing ending.

I usually don't care to comment about films on forums, but I just had to see if anyone else feels the same about this film. If so why do you think it was so popular?
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Old May 19th, 2008, 05:40 PM   #2
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Kelly and I saw it for the first time the other night as well. I loved it, she didn't. Agreed about the score, it is really eclectic (a better word for "all over the place" in terms of genre) -- classical here, electronica there -- just to build tension in otherwise tranquil scenes.

Re: acting, having read Sinclair's "The Jungle" but not "Oil" upon which this movie was based, I'd say a lot of that over-the-top business has a lot to do with Upton Sinclair's writing style and the style of his time, and I get the impression that the screenwriters wanted to preserve a lot of that in adapting this work to film. The part that goes "I drink your milkshake" is based on a real speech (see the trivia notes on IMDB).

I can't find the words to explain why, but I loved this movie... maybe it was DDL's performance... I gave it a thumb up. Kelly only gave it a finger.
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Old May 19th, 2008, 08:17 PM   #3
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It was definitely different. I assumed this wasn't intentional(intelligently). I guess if I had read the book I might understand its structure better.
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Old May 19th, 2008, 08:44 PM   #4
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I loved it as well. I won't bore everyone with all the why's. Well, just a couple. I'm a big DDL fan, and this is a great performance. The "over-the-topness" is appropriate when considering the lengths Big Oil has traversed to extend its power and influence.

"So the whole film is just about the Protaganist's determination and paranoia?"

Hmm, you mean like Raging Bull? A good story can be grounded in any structure, if told well. And the sometimes cacophonous score. Well, I won't presume to know what a filmmaker is going for with his/her decisions, but for me, it represented the fact that this man was completely cut off from the beauty in his life. He was consumed by oil and money, possessed even. So we weren't allowed to enjoy the scenic shots, just as he was unable to.

Oh yeah, I disliked No Country.. intensely. Diff. strokes.
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Old May 19th, 2008, 08:58 PM   #5
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Great thoughts there Eric... funny thing is I loved both of 'em, No Country and TWBB.

DDL is an amazing actor... look at his performance in TWBB or, say, Gangs of New York and then compare either to Blast of the Mohicans... hard to believe it's the same guy. He is amazing. Gets better with age in my opinion.

And Paul Dano having only four days to prepare for the role of Eli... he's amazing too!
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Old May 20th, 2008, 12:21 AM   #6
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You didn't like it? Come here and I will DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE!

Sorry OP, I LOVED it. This is so NOT a Josh Bass movie, in my opinion. I kinda thought it looked cool from the trailer, and then started hearing how much it sucked on the craigslist film forum, but how great it was from critics---neither a particularly reliable source of information.

So, one day, being bored, not having the girlfriend around, I decided to see it, hoped I wouldn't hate it, and I thought it was AWESOME. Just a weird, bizarre, surreal movie. And I thought that least scene was absolutely captivating. There were a few slow scenes for me, where my mind kinda wandered, but I would say at least 75% of the movie was gripping.

It'd be nice to be that rich. . .get to do that sort of thing in your own house, and then just tell the butler "I'm finished" afterward (KIDDING!).

Anyway, if you want people who share your hatred of the film, see the Craigslist film forum and/or IMDB message boards on the film. If it's any consolation, I had the same reaction (as you did to this film) to Juno.
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Old May 20th, 2008, 10:23 AM   #7
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ha, I liked Juno and didn't like No Country..

yep, different strokes
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Old May 20th, 2008, 10:28 AM   #8
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There you go. I liked No Country a lot.
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Old May 29th, 2008, 04:09 PM   #9
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Loved it. I was in shock for at least a day after seeing it the first time. I wept more the second time, and also realized how over the top the final scene is. Saw it the second time with a girlfriend, who decided that it represented everything she didn't like about upton sinclair, and also that the story was predictable. Ultimately I think I think the film's strengths far outweigh it's possible shortcomings. It's material just runs deep for me, capturing that texture of history (dialect, portrayal of the challenges of oil drill work environment, landscape as character), the father/son thing, the seared epitomization of national psyche. I don't know. Either you were feeling it or you weren't. It reminded me of the power of Terrence Mallick's best works. With Andersen, it always has to do with the poetic, experiential, emotional livelihood of the material, and not necessarily with perfection in story mechanics.

And I thought the music score was outrageous and magnificent.
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Old May 29th, 2008, 07:28 PM   #10
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Loved the final scene. I had to go get a steak right afterward. That WAS what he was eating, right?
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Old May 30th, 2008, 04:39 AM   #11
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Between swallows of whiskey, yes.
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Old July 25th, 2008, 09:39 PM   #12
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Just netflixed it. Extremely well edited and directed. Every scene seemed tight as a drum and you could feel the train wreck coming from the opening moments. But that last line deflated my high. To end a movie that powerful on an overused cliche is heartbreaking.
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Old July 25th, 2008, 10:06 PM   #13
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I'd never seen DDL before this movie or since. Acting was superb, cinematography was world class. Loved the premise. Loved that the movie didn't follow the typical Hollywood tidy three act sequence and wrap itself into a tidy ball. I remember my feelings after seeing it at the theatre. If Hollywood made more movies like that, I'd spend more of my money there. I also saw No Country at the theatre, and Atonement. Atonement bored me to tears. No Country was riveting.

These movies certainly won't appeal to all tastes, but I'd go see every one like them if I could.
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Old July 26th, 2008, 09:30 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Buys View Post
...that last line deflated my high. To end a movie that powerful on an overused cliche is heartbreaking.
Well, it begs the question: was that line in the original text by Upton Sinclair? If so, then I think they did the right thing. A few years ago I re-read "The Jungle" (and thought, what an excellent project for an HBO series that would be), but I haven't read "Oil." After seeing TWBB, I'd love to read the text and compare it with the film. In my opinion it would make excellent course material for a "Fiction Into Film" study at the university level. Sometimes I wish I were still in school.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Perrone Ford View Post
Atonement bored me to tears. No Country was riveting.
My thoughts exactly. Atonement really let me down. No Country thoroughly defied my expectations and gave me something much better than I thought it would be.
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Old July 26th, 2008, 09:01 PM   #15
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Chris, I didn't consider that. If it is in Upton's book, that changes things. I read the Jungle years ago and though it was a good read I can remember there were a lot of over the top cliche's in it too.

I remember my prof' saying Roosevelt was reading the Jungle in the whitehouse while eating breakfast and hurled his sausage out the window. Thus began his trustbusting.

But having said that, I think books and movies are different mediums and that it's better to go for a great recreation than a great translation. But for most director's I'd have to say it's a no win situation.

Make your own version and you hollywoodize it, follow the book exactly and loose some of the audience.
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