56 of 71 people found the following review helpful
A Long, Dark Journey into the Soul of Greed and Power,
This review is from: There Will Be Blood (DVD)
Upton Sinclair's epic novel OIL! has been successfully transformed to a film by screen writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson ('Magnolia','Boogie Nights', etc). The film is a long song (158 minutes), covering a fascinating span of time in turn of the century California when oil gained the lure of gold and transformed the land and the people into creatures of capitalism and greed and lust, and were it not for the presence of Daniel Day-Lewis' powerful performance as the man who makes it all happen, the story itself would become tiresome. It doesn't.
Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) is a silver miner in 1898, but soon discovers oil and begins on a mission to become wealthy, owning most of the oil fields from the mountains of central California to the Pacific Ocean. With his medicine man manner of getting people to do what he wants he pursues his greed relentlessly, disrupting small sleepy towns like Little Boston as he gains access to the wealth of the black gold. There are odd characters along the way, such as the evangelist Eli Sunday (Paul Dano) who become crushable clods beneath Plainview's boots. The progress of the story is well known to most: it is the telling of the tale in the hands of wholly credible, completely physically immersed Daniel Day-Lewis that makes the story seem new.
The film's grimy atmosphere is well presented in Robert Elswit's cinematography and the odd musical score by Jonny Greenwood is as ominous as the vantage of Plainview. Greenwood elects to weave classical works into the fabric of the film: when young HW falls deaf after an explosion the silence is partnered by one of Arvö Pärt's 'Fratres', and the film's credits are displayed over the Anne-Sophie Mutter/von Karajan recording of Brahms' Violin Concerto. Strange bedfellows, yes, but entirely appropriate to the overall mood of the film. The journey is long and depressing, but the power of Day-Lewis' performance is magic. Grady Harp, April 08
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Showing 1-10 of 12 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 12, 2008 2:51:07 AM PDT
All Red says:
I respectfully disagree with your opening statement. This film is NOT Upton Sinclair's "epic novel OIL! It is but a mere suggestion or an idea derived from the book, but not Upton Sinclair!
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 12, 2008 7:16:10 AM PDT
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 13, 2008 12:18:35 AM PDT
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In reply to an earlier post on Apr 13, 2008 7:53:44 AM PDT
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 13, 2008 7:35:16 PM PDT
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 18, 2008 8:08:28 PM PDT
He would have had to have actually watched it to know that. You expect too much.
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 19, 2008 9:23:10 AM PDT
Posted on Apr 21, 2008 12:16:22 PM PDT
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In reply to an earlier post on Apr 21, 2008 3:19:34 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 21, 2008 3:20:15 PM PDT
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 22, 2008 8:26:51 AM PDT
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