10. Your best friend’s favorite movie: There Will Be Blood (2007)
List Progress: 12/12 (+32) (Whoo hoo!!!)
I was glad to read, after I watched 2007’s There Will Be Blood, that the film has conflicting praise. I know that enjoying any piece of media is a matter of taste, but it was reassuring to know that this film in particular divided audiences, some calling it a masterpiece, some calling it overwrought, some calling it both at the same time. This is my best friend’s favorite movie and I was watching it on a couch with said friend, who was enjoying being back in the dense atmosphere and close character study of desperate and cruel men. I felt far more lukewarm. There are a lot of things in There Will Be Blood that are lovely or powerful, and a lot of other things that are desperately trying to be lovely or powerful. And stacking so much attempted grandeur on top of itself can make for a dense movie, one that I was not so keen on.
There Will Be Blood follows Daniel Plainview, an oil man in the early 1900’s, as he tries to make his fortune and consolidate his power at any cost. On his side, he tails his young son H.W., and against him stands a wannabe prophet and pastor, Eli. Daniel comes to Eli’s small town after receiving a tip from Eli’s twin brother Paul, and the two play power games around each other as they fight for the profits and souls of the townsfolk. It is a rich and tense set-up, but it mostly exists for actors Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Dano to perform key scenes at each other, rarely interacting as actual people. There is nothing wrong with that type of stylization, but it’s a lot for a two and a half hour movie. I was far more engaged with the relationship between Daniel and H.W., but even that had its limits.
I don’t dislike There Will Be Blood, but it didn’t light any fires in me. There was enough good to make me glad I took the time, but I will not be returning to this specific (oil) well.
Would I Recommend It: Not really, but very dependent on personal tastes.