Sunday, December 30, 2007

There Will Be Blood

It has already been declared the best film of the year (see here) and subjected to so many ecstatic reviews that it feels futile to add anything of my own, specially when one is not so enthusiastic (partly because I went with such huge expectations). It is actually not surprising why critics have gone all ga-ga over it. I wanted to write an essay myself on the topic of something like, "American Character as a mixture of Capitalism and Religious zealotry", even though the film left me with a raging headache and I didn't particularly enjoy it or was moved by it. I was waiting for grand dramatic scenes or scenes with emotional payoffs or some spectacular violence but it never came. The last scene has some of it but it is more of an anti-climax. It is actually to Anderson's credit that he rigorously avoids all such emotionalism, sentimentality and the familiar narrative tropes of humanistic character studies, otherwise it could have easily become another cliched and oft-repeated tragedy of a "lonely-capitalist", a message-film about the evils of greed and untrammeled ambition. In fact the whole film seemed to be explicitly designed in such a way as to avoid such simplistic reductionism, though in the end it is nothing but that only, which was why it left me disappointed. (The headache was probably because of the weird, dissonant and jarring musical score of the film, certainly one of the strangest I have heard in recent films. It does feel overused though probably the film wouldn't have been the same without it.)

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