zoethe: (Holmes)
Last night Ferrett and I went to see There will be Blood, which I believe is the picture with the most Oscar noms this year. It's also extremely popular - it's already #18 on imdb.com's Top 250 list. Coming out of the movie, though, Ferrett and I had pretty much the same reactions:

Daniel Day Lewis should take the Best Acting award in a walk. His performance is amazing. He never gives in to a twanging accent, never loses a controlled, cultivated dignity to his town. There are shots of him in profile where you can read a dozen emotions playing through the twitch of his mouth, the lines around his eyes. He doesn't even need his whole face to the camera to connect. His anger is a terrible thing because of this control - creepy and frightening. It is a fine performance.

The film also deserves in every way the Oscar for Achievement in Sound Mixing. It should have gotten - and won - the nod for Original Score, but there is nothing pretty about the soundtrack. Instead, it is harsh, confrontational, and perfectly suited to the picture.

But it is not, in either of our opinions, Best Picture of 2007. Despite being beautifully shot - I can see it picking up the Cinematography awards - it is overly long and slightly disjointed in the middle. It is a picture with many fantastic scenes, but too much fat left on the final presentation. At more than two and a half hours, it left me fidgety in the middle. The beginning was riveting, and the ending was one of the most fucked up and perfect I have seen in a while, but in the middle it rambled in the weeds, no one scene being bad, but just too many of them for it to really hold together. Another pass through the editing room, another 10-15 minutes trimmed away, and this might have been one of the finest movies ever made.

Which is why I can't recommend it for the Best Film Editing award. Better editing would have avoided one jarring transition toward the end, and tightened the movie up.

And I think there is a decent chance that the Oscars will split the difference between two very violent movies this year, giving the Best Director to Paul Thomas Anderson for There Will be Blood and Best Picture to No Country for Old Men, which as a complete movie hangs together better.

(Or the two of them might split the blood-and-violence vote entirely and allow Juno to win. Which would be kinda cool, considering how few comedies even get considered these days. But I doubt that will happen.)

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zoethe

September 2012

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