There Will Be Blood, once.
In keeping with my quest to bring you reviews from beyond the grave of Cranky Version 1.0, I give you this pile of crap.
A “Chinatown” for the oil fields minus the incest, “There Will Be Blood” harkens to a time when goddam movie studios made big-ass, on-location, gaudy MOVIES, for the love of God! That people LOVED for Christ’s sake! With gorgeous SETS and CINEMATOGRAPHY! Jesus! “…Blood” also makes me thank the same Christ that this time has long since passed, because “golden era” epics are as riveting as a Tobey Maguire appearance on “Inside the Actor’s Studio”. I swear that those Selznickian spankfests (“Larry of Moldavia”, “Whoreopatra”, “Benny Hurman”, etc.) get the retarded-kid treatment when people see them today. “Oh, how nice for them… in the 50’s. They made a toy chariot! Out of real wood! Oooooh, they parted a bathtub! A marvel of special effects!”
For a retard.
I mean, these are the same people who think Bob Hope was hilarious and that Jane Wyman was not a hideous freak. Which all goes to show that everybody hates the present so much that even the lamest of pasts can become “Enter the Dragon” in retrospect.
So bent on recreating the past is P.T. Anderson that I am surprised he didn’t shoot this fucking thing in Panavision AND Technicolor with Laurence Olivier’s re-animated corpse in the lead. It is, in essence, the film equivalent of a Lenny Kravitz album- all vintage, no substance.
“…Blood” is based on Upton Sinclair’s Oil! So, if you’re gonna shave in the theatre (and if your hair grows half as fast as mine you will need to before it’s all over) bring the safety razor, because Sinclair makes Mike Leigh look like a Farrelly brother. The opening line of about anything he’s written could get a gang of Mouseketeers onto suicide watch. And, to boot, this thing features D-Day Lewis as an angry, drunk Jack Palance. Constipated. I kept waiting for him to drop a “Believe it…. buuuurp!.….. or…..wheeeeeeze…….not!" (craps pants) on somebody after screwing them out of their property and its enormous oil reserves. Which is exactly what the murderous douchebag does for…4 hours? A year? I don’t know, but my mail sure seems to have piled up for only one night out. Which reminds me- we must band together and beat Academy members severely until they agree to require permits for movies with runtimes in excess of 120 minutes. Please sign and mail loyalty oath below. We thank you in advance for your support.
Yeah… so, true to its source, the flick does not deviate from downersville for a nanosecond. In the godforsaken California desert, D-Day crushes the hopes of honest, god-fearing idiots, abandons his deaf “son”, wears a moustache, pollutes like a motherfucker, fakes being saved by the mute kid from “That Ugly Chick Goes to the Beauty Pageant with Alan Arkin”, and challenges his own liver to a death match. All while making himself obscenely rich. In sepia tones. And that’s about it. Except for a bowling alley beating worse than the one Walter lays on the Nihilists, the only exciting thing that goes down in this flick is drillpipe (the poor sons-of-bitches who get chewed up setting it are but an afterthought here). Scumbags act their part, Jesus does NOT intervene, and a very small group of assholes get wealthy. While this was likely insightful and enlightening stuff to the people of 1927, the warnings were not heeded and seven heathen pricks still run the world today. I could pick up the New York Times for a buck to read this shit.
In the end, though, the worst part of “…Blood” is that it is just the sort of retro-tripe the Academy uses to fellate itself every once in a while. Golden dildoes for D-Day et al are a certainty, which ensures that an adaptation of The Jungle (“Meat!”) is also coming down the pipe. And that, to my mind, means that there ought to be much, MUCH more blood to follow.