Sunday, November 30, 2008

There Will Be Blood.

There Will Be Blood is visionary director Paul Thomas Anderson's adaptation of Upton Sinclair's 1927 novel Oil!. Set in the early 1900's, it tells the story of a man's ruthless quest for power and wealth during Southern California's oil boom. It was nominated for eight, and won two Academy Awards.

There Will Be Blood is, simply put, a powerhouse lasting two and a half hours. By the time it ends, one cannot help but be awed at what has gone on on-screen. Daniel Day Lewis, known for churning out the greatest performances by any present day actor, is at his vicious best. After roles like that of Christy Brown in My Left Foot, and Bill 'The Butcher' Cutting in Gangs of New York, he is back, and with more to offer. It is a treat simply watching him on screen. He is credited for being the most selective actor around, and for good reason.

Expect P.T.Anderson's best work till date as well. Topping masterpieces such as Magnolia and Boogie Nights is not an easy job. So we would think. There Will Be Blood is a whole new arena to what Anderson can do as a screenplay writer. Certain sequences in this gem of a film stand out as particularly magnificent. The background score played during the derrick fire sequence is beyond description. It is a few minutes of perfection. Haunting. Expect to go wide-eyed. The cinematography top notch. The rythm and motion, in perfect harmony.

There Will Be Blood is a story about ambition. Greed. Hatred. About a man who is so self absorbed that he cannot imagine anything apart from what he wants. And he does everything he possibly can to get it. The shock of what the film shows is stays for a while after one has seen it. Not merely because of the actions it shows us, more because of the ways and the circumstances in which the actions have been performed. From greed. From whim. From madness. Daniel Day Lewis' Daniel Plainview is such a man. And his performance puts forward to us as much of him as it possibly can. It is simply shocking.

The character of Eli, portrayed by Paul Dano, deserves special mention. Especially for the way it all comes out in the last 20minutes of the film. Another brilliant sequence there. Paul Dano does marvellously to keep up with Lewis in this particular sequence in the film. It is hard to believe that anyone of his age can stand up to Lewis in so powerful a sequence. The last 20minutes of the film will leave you speechless. It is a lesson in acting and cinematography, in editing and sound mixing. It is a film in itself. There Will Be Blood is a masterpiece that deserves a lot more respect and credit than it has recieved.

And I quote Daniel Plainview from the scrumptious final sequence :
Did you think your song and dance and your superstition would help you, Eli?
I am the Third Revelation!
I am who the Lord has chosen!

There Will Be Greed.
There Will Be Vengeance.
There Will Be Blood.

Flat-out masterpice.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Quantum Of Solace.

After all the success and box office smash of a relaunch to the Bond Franchise, Quantum Of Solace comes in with low expectations, the smallest run-time for a Bond film, an absolutely new and original script, a name suggested by none other than the star of the show himself, and a truckload of critics waiting to write it off as 'just another Bond film which could not live up to it's former'.

Michael G. WIlson's plot and Marc Foster's direction creates an all new Bond. All over again. If Casino Royale re-invented James Bond, as a character. Quantum Of Solace redefines him as a human being. Once again, we must bear in mind the Bond of the old days. One who has a License To Kill, is devoid of all emotion whatsoever, who has gadgets coming out of his toes, who lives the sweet life, and one who is never to be harmed. Well, here, Bond is already, as Mathieu Amalric's slithery Dominic Greene puts it, 'damaged goods'. As is his new partner, Olga Kurylenko's Camille Montes; with a scarred back (very noticeable. believe me!). They both put themselves through danger for very much the same reason. They are merely different people.

For more firsts.. Quantum Of Solace happens to be a direct continuation of Casino Royale, kicking off minutes after where the previous left us. It is not written by Ian Fleming. The script, the work of Michael G. WIlson. The name, inspired by the title of a short story from For Your Eyes Only.

The song for this one, Another Way To Die, performed by Jack White and Alicia Keys, is decent. Definitely has a better feel to it in the opening credits rather than in the original video. And similar to Casino Royale, it is the tune that runs through the length of the film. The film is an hour and forty six minutes of edge of the seat stuff. It hardly lets you breathe. The direction, bearing in mind the amount of action it has, is of the highest quality. Quantum Of Solace is, if truth be told, a solid action entertainer. Don't think about Casino Royale while or before or even after watching it. Don't compare. Never compare. Standing alone, Quantum Of Solace is a good film. It is a follow up. The lies, the betrayal, the hatred, the wounds, everything from the previous, gets carried into this one. Whatever happens, happens because of whatever has already taken place before. I recall something I've been taught in film studies class - Cause and effect. Direct relation.

Daniel Craig, I repeat, is still the perfect Bond. After this, it seems more like he was born to play James Bond. The ice-cold blue eyes, the fear-anger-hatred he portrays with them, his sheer physicality, the dialogue delivered as calmly as possibly, the expressionless face - it's all in the eyes. Craig, till Casino Royale came along, is the Bond we never had (all due respect to Sir Sean Connery). Mathieu Amalric is the bad-guy who wouldn't have been had they still been following the old norms of Bond. Much like Mads Mikkelsen's Le Chiffre. He is perfectly slithery. Olga Kurylenko has that fineness in her too. Almost like she was made to play Camille. She's brutal, cold in her own way. Yet she too is vulnerable. She too happens to be damaged goods searching for revenge.

You lost someone?
Find whoever who did it?
Let me know when you do.
I'd like to know how it feels.

With Quantum Of Solace, to James Bond, is added more feeling. More emotion. More brutality. More reality. And the people who undertook this uncertain venture have definitely gone all out in trying to successfuly reboot the Franchise. Quantum Of Solace is a good sequel to an even better film.

8/10. It still is Daniel Craig's party.