Thursday, May 14, 2009

Praise


I never saw "My Left Foot", "In the Name of the Father" or "The Last of the Mohicans". I saw "My Beautiful Laundrette" though, but was more smitten with the love story than with the acting of Daniel Day-Lewis. In fact, I think I've always taken the praise for the latter with a grain of salt, thinking he was one of those capital A artists who take themselves and their craft a wee bit too seriously.

That was until last night, that is. When Marie and I curled up on the bed to watch "There Will Be Blood", and I found myself humbled and amazed with his talent. There's no one beyond the character he is in. Not a grain of someone else.

I remember watching Charlie Rose a couple of months ago, when, during the discussion with someone I can't remember, he noted that Mickey Rourke in "The Wrestler" "really became that character".

I think this applies to Daniel Day-Lewis as well. He becomes it. Which in turn reminded me of something I once read about him and found a little silly at the time. Something about his tendency to adopt his different characters to such extreme extents that he will walk and talk like them even after he has finished shooting. I find it silly no more. In a way it makes sense that you have to gradually shed someone off like that, when every inch of you have been that someone.

The movie was humbling too. Perfect, I think. Flawless.
It was painful to watch, and so rich and layered and then again simple, to the point where I feel intimidated to identify its essences.

As much as I've enjoyed Trier's trilogy of the United States (so far), I found that There Will Be Blood encompassed the genesis of this country, its logic, its greed, its love, its beliefs, better than anything I've ever seen. It is its most inflamed parts and all the the things that went awry.

I don't know if I want to watch it again though. It's beyond masterly, but horrendous to watch. The soundtrack was magnificent too. Perfectly disquieting.


I noted that Paul Thomas Anderson adapted Updike's novel for the screen himself, and it's beyond me how someone that young can already have developed such sensitive skills.

I'm jealous. But humbled mostly.

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