After reading many reviews of P.T. Anderson’s seminal new film There Will Be Blood, I am disappointed to see how much misinterpretation there is. Where the themes of greed, godlessness, capitalism, hatred, and revenge are certainly present, they are peripheral, and recent oil politics have led critics to miss a central theme that ties all those issues together: the loneliness of godhood. I will explain the four different meanings of the film’s title to show that that loneliness is what drove anti-hero Daniel Plainview to his tragic end.
I've been trying to name the greatest American film-makers of our time, and I've gathered a contemporary list that I still feel is rather sparse. It needs help. For now, I'd choose the Coen Brothers, Clint Eastwood, and David Lynch as the most discerning eyes in dissecting what composes the American dream, our manifest failure, and the reflection of national identity in personal development. Their films embody the seldom appreciated mysticism of the americana, the almost mythic qualities honor and absurdity in what in the blistering speed of social evolution has delegated as common, and thus by extension as simple, perhaps even backwards and irrelevant.
Now there are some others I'd want to add, namely Scorcese, Mann, P.T. Anderson, Mendes, Wes Anderson, Spike Lee, and Solondz, but in the end, what they've mastered is not the soulforming undercurrent that forges the iron of the melting pot itself, but just one shard of that flame. They do it well. As I've commented before, Mann and Anderson create films that are concentrated drops of L.A. in ensembled veracity. Scorcese and Spike underscore the New York we may not have been to but have always known. But. But! They've taught me, shown me, but they haven't understood me better than I do myself. Sincerely, Uncle Sam.
Actually Solondz is the one who got me thinking about it. We plodded through Palindromes last night, and while I must give it credit for a fairly successful disembodiment of the main character, which he accomplished by using several actresses (and one actor) to play, it was ruined with the same judgemental anti-fundamentalist shlockery as I :heart: Huckabees. Yes, the movie upholds genre "Experimental," and I really embraced the composite Aviva, a girl who's quest for true love leads her to desire creating her own baby. Be she an Eve or a Mom, her palindromic journey almost left the post of film vehicle to become that ghost of America past I wanted to idolize. And then he ruined it by giving us Mama Sunshine who went from a pre-appearance Baba Yaga to post-appearance pro-life straw-woman. Boring! A supporter of abortionist assassination? Insulting!
Good movie, but it sure pulled the Happiness and Storytelling Solondz out of my choice American film-makers list.