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No Blood For Oil, There Will Be Blood: a Continuum

MJS's picture

come on children, gather round
hold your heads unto the ground
feel the power underneath
fireworks and carbon wreaths

our arms are long, so far they reach
'cross the sea, upon a beach
pretty women on the sand
all that oil on their hands

pretty women behind the veils
hear them sing and hear them wail
take the oil, lather up
massage it in and climb on top

staring at her holy eyes
burning oil, hypnotized
burning oil at the flood
blood for oil, there will be blood

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Note: I saw Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood and was captivated. Truly amazing performances, beginning with Daniel Day Lewis on down to everyone else in it. Art direction, sets, locations, editing, music, sound, direction and screenplay all cohere in this strange, hard, glinting story of unyielding greed. "I have a competition in me" as uttered by D.D. Lewis says more than I can ever say.

"No blood for oil, there will be blood" is (for me) our current reality, and there will continue to be the spilling of blood for as long as mankind covets black gold, Texas tea...

Image by mjs

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Jakebnto's picture
Submitted by Jakebnto on

is a good movie, but not a great story. From a storytelling viewpoint, it leaves a lot to be desired. There is no there, there.

Loose ends (think Paul and Abel Sunday) galore, a lack of connection between the stories of individual characters - these kinds of things detract from the story.

In well told stories, each character is presented as if the whole story is about them. In this story, each character is little more than a prop to hang some part of Daniel's (the protagonist) story. Real characters aren't props.

Jake

MJS's picture
Submitted by MJS on

The phrase "In well told stories" reminds me of critics who do not create but somehow know all the rules of quality creation. Nothing personal, but tell me the rules of god and I will laugh: tell me the rules of all "well-told tales" and I will disagree.

This film will stand the test of whatever time there is left in the world, proscribed rules or no.

p.s. Capitalism unhinged is the story of turning the rest of the world into props.

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Jakebnto's picture
Submitted by Jakebnto on

I don't think that this is a great story, however good a movie it might be. I certainly play the role of a critic, but I see and hear the story with my own eyes as a storyteller - however poor at that I might be. I know good stories. This isn't it.

Or at least I know good stories that I like. I am sure there is a difference between stories I like and objectively good stories (if there is such a thing).

MJS, it's a continuity thing, making an organic whole from the sparkly bits the author chooses to write. That whole occurs in the readers mind, so it is certain that different minds will perceive different wholes. So perhaps it is merely a preference on my part for a certain kind of whole.

Either way, this story did not resonate with me. I thought the pieces were great - lots of truly great sparkly bits, but for me the whole is less than the sum.

Jake

Jakebnto's picture
Submitted by Jakebnto on

I agree that unchecked capitalism IS turning most of the world into a prop.

Jake

MJS's picture
Submitted by MJS on

One of the jobs given actors is to breathe life into characters whose inner/outer lives aren't necessarily revealed by the author--background characters, extras, etc. Are they window dressing, or are they like all of those we pass every day in our own lives, as we ourselves are often just another random face to everybody else.

I didn't feel cheated by Anderson's film: I felt utterly focused on the powerful, cryptic and ultimately abject central character. This film serves as a reminder that achievement by itself can be quite amoral, and the core of unfettered capitalism has a hollowness that can send some serious shivers up one's spine.

Daniel Day Lewis' performance was so fully realized, so completely inhabited and felt so dangerous that I checked my wallet after the film to make sure its contents had not been disturbed through some cinematic mischief.

We shall agree to disagree on this one, Jake.

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