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Wick's Review

Created Jan 12, 2008 04:37PM PST • Edited Sep 02, 2014 07:09PM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Great 4.0

    Great – if sadly flawed – exploration of the early California oil industry, dramatized through the exploits of an entrepreneurial ogre. A Chinatown for Oil, the movie serves as fascinating Golden State period piece and socialist screed, decrying the imagined crimes of tycoons as it celebrates their material achievements.

    The copious praise heaped on Daniel Day-Lewis for his singular performance at the heart of There Will Be Blood is all deserved. Movie acting gets no better than his Daniel Plainview.

    Filled with solitary moments and speechifying, the movie is no ordinary blockbuster. Worse, the story veers into farce during its last half as Plainview’s ornery narcism turns him into a sociopathic monster.

  3. Really Great 4.5

    Daniel Day-Lewis’ Daniel Plainview ranks amongst the greatest of movie performances. The most American of characters – plainspoken, laconic, self-made – Plainview serves as yet another reminder that his creator, the British star of My Left Foot and The Last of the Mohicans, is a nonpareil movie actor.

    Paul Dano’s performance as the boy evangelist (and his twin brother) has also received early acclaim, though I found it shrill and shallow.

    The rest of the cast is uniformly excellent. It’s always a treat to see Ciaran Hinds, the actor who fully inhabited Julius Caesar in HBO’s Rome.

  4. Male Stars Perfect 5.0
  5. Female Stars Perfect 5.0
  6. Female Costars Perfect 5.0
  7. Male Costars Very Good 3.5
  8. Great 4.0

    Masterfully presented by Paul Thomas Andersen, though flawed by the melodramatic turn towards absurd villainy in the latter half of the movie.

  9. Direction Very Good 3.5
  10. Play OK 2.5

    The latter half of the story feels Hollywood contrived, as Daniel Plainview becomes ridiculously odious, making even Rockefeller’s men from Standard Oil sympathetic in comparison.

  11. Music Perfect 5.0

    Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood fills the movie with perfect instrumental accompaniment, especially when heightening tension or building dread. The fact that he does this with nary a single electric instrument is an accomplishment of classic proportions.

  12. Visuals Perfect 5.0
  13. Content
  14. Risqué 1.8

    There is less blood than the title would suggest. If anything, the industrial accidents are scarier and more shocking than the melodramatic murders.

  15. Sex Innocent 1.0
  16. Violence Fierce 1.8
  17. Rudeness Profane 2.6
  18. Glib 1.4

    I rate its circumstantial reality as 190% of normal, the highest possible without tipping over into surrealism. This fictional movie imagines a California prospector turned oil tycoon who becomes a full-fledged sociopath, an unlikely turn of events.

  19. Circumstantial Glib 1.9
  20. Biological Glib 1.2
  21. Physical Natural 1.0


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Feb 12, 2009 11:05AM

Regarding Wolfman898’s Review
Great slam Wolfman, and largely deserved. I too was troubled and putoff by the absurd turn towards ridiculous villianry in the second half of the movie.

Jan 12, 2008 9:53PM

First of all, my apologies if an alert went out twice about my review. I was logged in as Administrator, and forgot to login as Wick before first creating my review.

Anyway, it was quite the mob scene at the premiere of TWBB last night. Lines out the door, hard to find parking, all the hallmarks of a blockbuster. And while I rated the movie Great, it surely isn’t your run-of-the-mill blockbuster. As I said to the woman ahead of me in line, “It ain’t no Armageddon.”

Thus I wasn’t surprised that much of the talk as people were leaving the theater was quiet appreciation and bemusement rather than “Wow, what a great movie.”