Monday, February 18, 2008

Movie notes

I saw There Will Be Blood yesterday. Finally. I liked it very, very much indeed. I know people (Alok and Falstaff – this means you!) who came away underwhelmed, and I do agree it reminded me of many other films (especially Citizen Kane minus the ‘Rosebud’ angle) but I still felt the movie held its own.

For the first twenty or so eleven minutes and thirty three seconds of the film not a word is said and yet the movie was gripping from the go, by sheer dint of the awesome barren landscapes and the complete power that Daniel Day-Lewis exudes. It’s very difficult to take you eyes off him - his face and its very role appropriate nose lends itself perfectly to Daniel Plainview’s character and his taut body at the start seems to contain the kind of force and sheer power of someone determined to make it; by the end, as a consequence, what is left is a mangled, crooked figure.

Of course, this being Day-Lewis he inhabits his character absolutely completely, beyond just the mere physical aspects. When I came out of the theatre I was trying to remember who else had been nominated for the Best Actor Oscar this year and at that moment couldn’t remember any of the other actors, which is kind of apt. Also, no wonder the man ends up acting in only four movies in a decade – it’s exhausting watching him, I wouldn’t imagine what it would be like to live a character like Daniel Plainview.

I must also mention Paul Dano who plays Eli Sunday [1], the faith healer who gets on Plainview’s wrong side. The entire time I was watching Dano in the film I had a nagging feeling that I had seen him somewhere before and late last night it hit me that he was in Little Miss Sunshine – what an awesome turn from that to There Will Be Blood. He really holds his own, which is saying a lot considering the first guy who was supposed to be playing the role got freaked out and overwhelmed by Day-Lewis and quit a week before shooting.

Anyway, I am quite keen on watching the movie again – there are some excellent scenes (with excellent background music) that have stayed with me since my viewing – and quite honestly a Daniel Day-Lewis release is enough to get me to the theatres many times [2].

[1] For people who have seen the movie, can someone clear the air about Eli and Paul Sunday? Were they one and the same person? The movie is hazy about this and while it doesn’t really matter, it’s still interesting speculation.

[2] Daniel Plainview is such a despicable brute most of the time, but half the time the camera focused on Day-Lewis I would be thinking “OMG…he is so hot!” (and also “OMG… he has such a gorgeous face!” and “What amazing bone structure!” among others). This is not so bad though, I even think Ralph Fiennes manages to be amazingly sexily evil as Voldemort. He doesn’t even have nostrils in that role! I need help!


I recently found out that one of my most favourite books (ever!) Brideshead Revisited is being made into a movie. I am all kinds of skeptical about this entire project (never mind the cast) - really, there might be a good reason why the book has never been made into a movie.

I adore, adore, adore the TV series (the boxed set is one of my most prized possessions) which is twelve hours(!) long and which I wouldn’t wish to be a minute shorter. How they will take all the material of the book and compress it into a 100 minute movie is kind of beyond me. I mean, come on, that isn’t even enough time to fully exploit the homoerotic undercurrents of the Sebastian - Charles relationship!

Of course, a lot of my skepticism stems from the fact that, apparently, in the original draft of the script they decided to leave out Aloysius, and though they’ve brought him back in now, my reaction to the whole thing is just, “Dude, WTF?!”

Coming back to the casting, for me Brideshead has always been about Sebastian and I really can not think of anyone except Anthony Andrews in that role. And though Emma Thompson as Lady Marchmain and Michael Gambon as Lord Marchmain sound interesting, how can anyone compare to Claire Bloom and Sir Laurence Olivier in those same roles? This is not even mentioning Sir John Gielgud’s amazing turn as Edward Ryder. Finally, before I finish my pointless ranting, I offer the picture to the left proof of the fact that any version of Brideshead without Jeremy Irons will just never measure up.

P.S.: Who's to say, maybe the new film will turn out OK...hopefully more people will know about the book (if they don't already, in which case they are cretins) and will go watch the original miniseries.


Alok said...

about paul/eli sunday you will get an explanation in the IMDB trivia page. I thought it would be some schizophrenic - multiple personality disorder thing but turns out it was more prosaic... there is also a nice anecdote about the kid.

"Amazing bone structure" Lol!! Can understand how difficult it must be to objectify men.. also couldn't he have a decent face wash once in a while. He was so, umm, oily...

sorry for the flippant comment but I like your two other idols more (Ralph and Jeremy). actually i am just leaving for a blog-free vacation.

Aishwarya said...

I share most of your concerns over the Brideshead Revisited movie. But you already know this, I think.

Szerelem said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Szerelem said...

alok: thanks for the trivia...quite interesting. The double role does add a sense of weirdness to the proceedings in the film.

It's not that difficult to objectify men! Probably not as easy as women but you know, I try :D And he was supposed to be oily! Though he cleaned up really well in the scenes he was not. Also, I can't play favourites between Day-Lewis, Fiennes and Irons...equal opportunity and all.

Btw, it's always a shock to get a flippant comment from you! And you probably won't see this but enjoy the break - I'll needle you for details when you're back.

aishwarya: Yes :) Didn't you once say that if you were stranded on an island Brideshead would be the book you'd want with you? (Or am I imagining things?)

ChiliLady said...

your blog is awesomeness!

iz said...

Gosh you really do get into detail dont you? I think if i ever reviewed a movie the review would be one line long. Achha tha/achha nahin tha.

Space Bar said...

oi. tag!