So the new year has been insanely busy, with screenings here and bunged up noses there. Alas something had to fall by the wayside, and after a prosperous beginning it was the blog what hit the gutter (poor blog, give it a kiss to make it feel better!) Well, with Mondays slow, it’s time to post my very first ‘Celluloid Life’ – aka a meandering little splurge about a movie I’ve recently (as in the pojector still hasn’t cooled) seen. Enjoy, and feel free to comment (though I may hunt you down if I don’t like what you have to say. Of course I jest. Or do I?).
Critics have drooled, buzz has gained momentum, and already awards have been hurled with the speed of a Millennium Falcon in hyperdrive. Why? One man. Yes, all eyes are on Method Man™ Daniel Day Lewis in his latest ‘out there’ character conjuration. But is it all movie propaganda guff? Well… oui and non. In a film that lasts over 150 mins (that’s a bum-deadening two and a half hours, kids), Day Lewis is a force of nature upon which everything hinges. Nary a minute passes without his oil mongerer filling the screen. Imposing and steadfast as a mountain, driven, with gravelly tones that promise with one hand while taking away with the other, it’s a dream role that never falters despite the fact that we don’t actually know anything about the character. Zippily charting the rise of the oil industry from the 1890s to 1927, it pits Lewis’s capitalist merchant Daniel against devout Christian Eli (Paul Dano). And that’s about it. Spare storytelling reigns supreme, with director Paul Thomas Anderson evoking a fittingly bleak ambience, and the opening dialogue-less fifteen minutes distinguish this as a film with ambition and restraint. But in the end it’s a mixed bag that entirely depends on your involvement in the character of Daniel. See it for Lewis: the praise (after all) is entirely well-placed. A