Tuesday, 26 February 2008

There Will Be Blood

Film review for you-hoo-hoo

There Will Be Blood (fucking good)
(oh and There Will Be Spoilers too)


There Will Be Blood is an oil story starring Frank Zappa as a right cunt:

also starring Win Butler from the Arcade Fire as:

well, Win Butler from the Arcade Fire.

Finally it also stars Nick Cave:

as Frank Zappa's brother, Henry. At the weekend there, Zappa won an Oscar for Best Actor

The film isn't really about blood, but about oil. Perhaps that is an analogy. Zappa is an oil man, y'see, so excuse him if he prefers to speak bluntly. Set at the turn of the century a century ago, he's a mean-hearted capitalist who priorities money over everything - everything except, perhaps, his wee boy. But when his wee boy has an accident and goes deaf, Zappa wants Win Butler to heal his hearing. Despite all of Win's impassioned and well-intentioned bleating (and his recent 87 Metacritic score), the wee boy's hearing never returns, and it kinda sends Zaps spinning into a psychosis, since he's unable to communicate with the only person he really cares about. Zaps resents Butler hugely, and grows to resent his kid too, and becomes terribly conflicted about what to do and how to feel. Ultimately his psychosis, alcoholism and megalomania get the better of him and he becomes not just a blood-sucking capitalist but also a bit ae' a bitter maniac.

That's the plot, but the film isn't really about the plot, the plot's a bit ae an indistinct cloud. Really it's a "character study" about Zaps' character (whose name is Daniel Playfair, I think): how he struggles to earn a crust and then learns to manipulate people to perpetuate that; how he struggles to love his son when communication breaks down, so you wonder what the nature of his paternal love was in the first place; how he seems to place competitiveness above all else, even when he has no need to be competitive; how in the end he seems to come to terms with his own character flaws, resolving his internal conflict by just being a bastard cos it's easier. It seems that he developed a ruthless determination when he just struggled to get by that he wasn't able to moderate later, instead developing it further at great cost to the welfare of others. But even that's a simplification - as it should be, since it's impossible to capture every shade of a personality within a few lines.

OK so, Daniel Playfair's character is phenomenal, his dramatic realisation of Scarface or Taxi Driver standard... and Jonny Greenwood's soundtrack is tremendous too!

Now, I am not a movie reviewer - chill out Roger Ebert, your job is safe for now - but any fan of Frank Zappa or the Arcade Fire (who all make appearances throughout the film), or fans of Radiohead, or frankly anyone at all whatsoever (unless you're under 12, and if you are, you're wondering what a left cunt is, aren't you?), should go see it. Agreed?

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

"I am not a movie reviewer"

really!

"his dramatic realisation of Scarface or Taxi Driver standard"

erm...

Ally Broon said...

Pacino wasn't nominated, De Niro was nominated, but DDL won. So either I've to take an anonymous commenter as a better analyst than The Academy, or... you're saying Pacino wasn't great in Scarface?

erm...

Anonymous said...

You're absolutely correct of course. It'd somehow slipped my mind that THE ACADEMY was the ultimate, infallible arbiter of cinematic quality!

It'd be interesting to see you apply a similar logic to music. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame perhaps?

You are a music reviewer, after all.

Ally Broon said...

What? Where did I say anything about ultimate arbitration or infallibility? It does give some indication, and as far as I can think it probably is the most credible mainstream award in film or music - certainly moreso than, as you suggest, the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame, or the Grammys, or the BRITS or NME Awards here.

Again, when I'm faced with a choice between Academy Awards and the unexplained snipes of an anonymous commenter, I'm still more likely to side with the Oscars here. I'm open to hearing your opinion though, if you have one.