"There Will Be Blood" is long, yet economical in its storytelling. It sprawls, but is tidy. Each viewing feels like going the distance with prime Mike Tyson. And even though you lose, much like Balboa in "Rocky," all is well in the end because it restores hope, faith, and order in the art of moviemaking.
PTA's dark epic has it all - oil, family, greed, religion, capitalism, the West, and of course, blood. These ingredients, along with Robert Elswit's poetic, brutalist cinematography, Jonny Greenwood's unnerving score, and Daniel Day-Lewis' transfixing performance, mix to tell the horror story of America. And in the pantheon of movie history, it must be preserved.
"There Will Be Blood" is often regarded as the greatest film of the 21st century for a reason. Because it is. Let us not screw this up.
PTA's dark epic has it all - oil, family, greed, religion, capitalism, the West, and of course, blood. These ingredients, along with Robert Elswit's poetic, brutalist cinematography, Jonny Greenwood's unnerving score, and Daniel Day-Lewis' transfixing performance, mix to tell the horror story of America. And in the pantheon in movie history, it must be preserved.
Ok, so what am I doing? Oh, I'm chasing Paul Thomas Anderson. No, he's chasing me...
I'm voting Memento, even if it will disappear forever. I have to believe that my actions still have meaning, even if I can't remember them. I have to believe that when my eyes are closed, this movie is still there.
Because Memento is a better film. But you don't want the truth. You make up your own truth.
It always breaks my heart when I hear people say that Memento is just a gimmick or that it is all form over substance or worst of all that it is cold and emotionally distant. The form only adds to the substance; we could never have even imagined what it was like to be Leonard without being put in the same disorienting position. We couldn't comprehend the extent to which Teddy ( and Natalie) had been taking advantage of the fact that he had special needs. And, to me, it will always be one of the most moving tragedies that I've ever seen. How do you cope with the loss of a loved one, with the loss of identity and purpose when you literally cannot heal or move on? This movie may not wear its heart on its sleeve like some of its shoutier contemporaries, but see it when it has its shirt off- its heart is tattooed all over it. Memento vs. In The Mood For Love was a truly agonizing decision; this one, less so.
Memento is the type of film that impresses me more than it moves me. It's very interesting and intellectually stimulating, the type of film to get any movie nerd to pay attention. But There Will Be Blood doesn't just tickle the mind, it sets itself deep in your bones with ominous, artistic glee.
Where Nolan was a young up-and-comer with something to prove, PTA has nothing to prove to anyone. This is the type of 24k masterpiece that Nolan has only begun to approach.
Memento is often unfairly dismissed as a gimmick -- fun the first time around, but able to be safely tossed aside once you've solved the puzzle. When in actuality, it's an emotionally devastating look at the way we as humans deceive ourselves in an effort to give our lives meaning, Oh yeah, and it's wrapped up in one of the last truly innovative structural gambits of the past 20 years. Yes, TWBB is great, but Memento is better.
So, what's this mash-up? Daniel Plainview drinking a milkshake backwards? No? Was that a Dad joke? I can't tell anymore.
Both great films, two very different directors. One likes things intellectual to the point of being almost mathematical. The other likes paint spilling off the canvas onto the ground.
Seems like younger audiences don't love "There Will Be Blood" as much as the rest of us. Maybe they don't quite know what the hell to do with its oddness. Still, it's an undisputed all-time great (even if it only ranks 4th (or 5th) in PTA's filmography), so it'll beat Nolan's 2nd best film. But I fear this one will be close, which could spell trouble for PTA next week.
For my money, There Will Be Blood is roughly 9/10's of a great movie. It knows exactly what it is until Anderson's script loses its footing in the last act, and as powerful as the closing scene is, it can't quite make up for what led up to it. (Yes, I'm talking about the misfire that is the "milkshake scene".) On the other hand, Nolan is in complete control with Memento, and instead of fumbling in the last act, he throws in one last brilliant twist. No offense to Daniel Day-Lewis's electric performance, but Memento is the better movie and deserves to go to the next round.
After Memento beat out In the Mood For Love, one of, if not THE, best films ever created, all I have to look forward to in this tournament is the slow and painful death of Memento. Plus, Paul Thomas Anderson is a thousand times better than Nolan could ever hope to be, even at his best with Memento. This one is for you Wong Kar Wai.
No. No no no no no.
There Will Be Blood is indeed a masterpiece, a brutal, harsh deconstruction of the stories America tells itself about itself, capitalism, democracy, and the origins of our culture. It is the great American movie of the 21st century, PTA's best, and one of DDL's most captivating performances. Anyone who would vote against it would be absolutely mad.
And yet...I cannot forsake Nolan's big breakout Memento. It is the one movie that I can point to and say that I was a completely different person before I saw it; watching it made me the cinephile I am today. Still consider it his best - he would continue to play with time-distorted narrative but none have been as clever and constantly redefining itself as here - and carries thoughtful consideration of identity and the sense of self. I find something new every time I revisit it and I love it so. Just call me mad.
Memento VS Punch-Drunk Love would've been a decent first round match-up. Two early exceptional efforts from burgeoning great filmmakers who would later go on to MUCH greater masterpieces.
As it stands, this match-up is a joke. Memento only got here by being voted on by people who clearly hadn't seen the other contenders in the last 2 rounds (Cache and In the Mood For Love, both infinitely better than Memento in every conceivable way).
I love Blood. It's a masterpiece. But the truth is Daniel Day-Lewis gets a little big in his performance at the end which mars it (though not very much.) Memento is perfect.
Glad to see I'm not the only one who may not believe There Will Be Blood deserves all the credit it gets. This was easy for me. Memento is my favorite Nolan and I'll choose it over the Cohens any day (as much as I love their filmography).
Where did In The Mood for Love go? One of the best films of all time doesn't get past round 2? Shocking! I wanted Mood to take down No Country in the final.
I'm with Matt White in Indy. Well said, sir!
As There will be blood is a really boring movie that is totally overrated here, I opted for Memento.
In the Mood for Love should have easily won over Memento and should have made the Final Four. I’m voting for There Will Be Blood purely out of spite.
Mercifully, this is an easy choice in a part of the tournament where those are hard to come by. Nolan is a very good filmmaker and he will feature prominently in next year‘s #Madness, but Memento is way out of its weight class here, a bantamweight champ in the ring with a world class heavyweight.
Man, I voted against Memento in the eariler rounds but I now find myself voting for it hear. To me, There will be Blood is probably the most overrated movie by the filmspotting community. But what do I know? I lost my hearing from those shrieking violins.
This round is really hard - difficult choices abound, between movies I hate to lose... but this choice was easy. I've never loved Memento, which I remember being technically impressive but emotionally cold, and left me with the feeling of a filmmaker who was more interested in displaying his cleverness than with reaching his audience in a meaningful way. In fairness I haven't seen it since it came out, so I'm probably due for another look.
But, There will be Blood, though... man, what a movie. It hits you on every level at once, and then in a couple you didn't know about. It's going to be tough to beat.