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There Will Be Blood

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message 1: by Kimley (new)

Kimley | 201 comments Mod
I just saw the new P.T. Anderson film "There Will Be Blood" and I was wondering if anyone has read the Upton Sinclair story "Oil" that it is based on.

From what I'm reading about the book it sounds like the film is a pretty "loose" adaptation.

message 2: by Jason (new)

Jason | 6 comments Hi Kimley. (I'm an old friend of Edan's.)

I read pieces of the novel, some time ago. From what I've heard, the film hews to the novel's first section, but mostly takes the context and the central oilman, adding in the preacher and that conflict, dropping the book's focus on a father-son conflict. Is the film good? I'm a huge fan of Anderson, and dying to see it.

Sinclair's a tough read. I get excited thinking about his works' objectives, and his biography -- this determinedly-political writer, who thinks fiction needs to change the world. And, more importantly, can. But inevitably the reading dulls my enthusiasm, all those exclamation points, the cheap clockwork of his plotting and character development. (I recently read a great funny novel about Sinclair, U.S.! by Chris Bachelder, as a lead-in to seeing the film. I'd recommend it, highly.)

Anyone a bigger defender?

message 3: by Kimley (last edited Dec 31, 2007 02:28PM) (new)

Kimley | 201 comments Mod
Hello Mike - old friend of Edan's (a high recommendation indeed!)

Thanks for the thoughtful reply. I haven't read any Upton Sinclair but must say that I was intrigued by the vast disparity in ratings here on Goodreads for this particular book.

I'm still trying to figure out what I make of the film which is to say I didn't love it (and I am an Anderson fan as well) but felt there was definitely something there worthwhile. Anderson dedicates the film to Robert Altman and it made realize that he is definitely Altman's heir. And I think like Altman, his films don't always hit the mark but even in his weaker work, I still always come away intrigued by the attempt.

There were segments of the film (which is quite long at just a bit under three hours) where I didn't understand what was going on - perhaps some back story that had to be cut.

The performances are very strong though bordering on over-the-top but the characters are over-the-top so it's a tough job for any actor to pull that off and I think Daniel Day-Lewis does a good job of it as well as the young actor Paul Dano who plays the ambitious preacher.

I look forward to hearing what you think of it!

message 4: by Michael (new)

Michael (mike77) | 13 comments I just saw "There Will Be Blood," and I really really enjoyed it.

I think it was one of DDL's best performances.

message 5: by Alison (last edited Jan 31, 2008 12:50PM) (new)

Alison SPOILERS...

UGH! I was so disapointed in this film. And I had such high hopes.

I can't exactly put my finger on why this didn't work for me. It's not a bad story. I was engaged with the characters (for the first part of the movie, that was solely the character of Daniel). I kept waiting for his character to develop, and it seemed like it took soooo long to get the meat of who he was. He was nasty and greedy, ambitious, and misanthropic. But, there wasn't really enough story to let me know why he was this way. Which would have made it more interesting.

I found myself trying to find some positives...the scenery and cinematography are visually interesting...the story is made much more vivid by being able to watch all that oil seep from the ground, and when the oil catches the derek on fire, and it's raining oil, it's very metaphorical to see Daniel bathed in blood, grit, and oil. But, do a few well-filmed scenes, an interesting score, and one great actor make a "masterpiece"? Not for me, in this case.

The choice of music was did build tension (it sounded like something from a horror flick)...but then ultimately I was let down. Build-up, with no satisfaction. No one can deny that DDL is an amazing actor...probably one of the best working today...I'm really surprised he went for this film.

I did appreciate the bit with the preacher...he and Daniel were moral opposites (or were they more similar than they'd like to admit?)...each driven by different motives, and each willing to betray what meant the most to them in order to further their sucess.

Overall, everything seemed to be in place in this film, but for whatever reason, I didn't connect with the characters or the story as I felt like I was intended to (and as others obviously did--it's on every top ten list around). Was it worth seeing just for DDL's scary good performance? Hard to say, as it was three hours long.

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