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blog: ‘There will be blood’ disappoints

Austin Richardson
Vail CO, Colorado

EDWARDS, Colorado ” Ever walked out of a movie wishing you would’ve walked out much sooner?

I found myself looking at my watch after about 45 minutes of the much-touted film, ‘There will be blood.’

The movie was boring and contrived. Plain and simple. If I wanted to see someone being purely evil, Mexican wrestling on Telemundo is more compelling. At least you know where you stand, where the plot is going and roughly what’s going to happen. The bad guys eventually lose, the good guys win after being beaten down so much it seems impossible they will win.

Critics around the globe are saying, “hey, the bad guy wins, how novel — it’s Daniel Day-Lewis … he COULDN’T make a crappy movie, he only works once every five years … c’mon, gang, the bandwagon’s leaving the Screen Actor’s Guild/anorexic/12-step program/yoga/gluten-free/goofy jacket/black bug-eye sunglasses wannabe station right now, so don’t miss it.”

Critics flock to each other like Weight Watchers bingers flock to seafood buffets. The industry feeds on itself, a snake eating it’s own tail.

Yeah, all the “cool kids” love this movie … just because it’s cool to like this movie.

In, ‘blood’ the bad guy is a hyper-villain who’s visage is Daniel Day-Lewis. So this stereotypical “tall, dark and handsome” guy is the ultimate anti-hero who is just pure evil. This guy has no redeeming qualities. Weird though, you think he’s going to do someone a decent turn and the moment just never comes. And just when you think he’ll get his comeuppance, he lies/cheats/strongarms his way out of it.

And of course, all the critics love “complex” characters, who are actually one-sided. “Professional actors” will be quick to point out that villains are the hardest to play, because actors tend to be bleeding hearts who see the good in everyone. Precisely the reason they’ll honor an actor for portraying evil so completely as Day-Lewis does in “blood.”

The first scenes of him hard rock mining, breaking his leg and waking up at the bottom of a mineshaft, finding some silver/gold, and eventually figuring out how to extract oil from the ground are pretty compelling.

Thirty minutes after that, I was wondering why I wasn’t watching C-SPAN.

Day-Lewis’ performance was great, but the preacher played by Paul Dano was forced. The preacher is no better than the greedy oil-man. It’s the Depression, everyone’s either hunkered down or going for the throat to stay in business.

A bright spot in the movie was Dillon Feasier. He plays the “son” of greedy oil tycoon Daniel Plainview as a child. Without giving the whole movie away, his performance was noteworthy and distinct despite his being in the shadow of Day-Lewis. Oh yeah, there are no women in the movie. Only a girl whose father beats her because she doesn’t pray long enough has any mention at all.

On the way out of the theater, I overheard the phrase “challenging” used to describe the movie. Euphemistically speaking, I’d say, “wait for the DVD if you want to waste three hours watching the ‘greatest actor of all time’ be dirty, mean and nasty.”

Overall, thumbs down. Don’t believe the hype.

Web editor Austin Richardson can be reached at arichardson@vaildaily.com or by phone at (970) 748-2911.


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