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2008-01-12 - 2:13 a.m.

Tonight, I saw There Will Be Blood. No doubt you've seen it or read about it by now, so you know that Daniel Day Lewis stars as Yukon Cornelius in a film about men's dependency on liquids--oil, milk, whiskey, mud, and baptismal water.

I enjoyed much of the film, but can't quite get behind "best of the year." For one thing it drags a bit in the first hour.

And more importantly, I think the film would have benefited from having the Eli character show a little more strength in opposition to Daniel Plainview--had the preacher been an equal opponent to the oil man, the two swords of their anger and intensity and ambition (and co-dependence) would have carved more interesting shapes.

Perhaps it is just a matter of Paul Dano's not being a good enough actor. I think Edward Norton (too old for the role I guess) or even Ryan Gosling would have done more interesting things with the role.

That said, the fake conversion scene was priceless (revealing both men's true natures), the bowling ball scene uncomfortably surreal and comic (which works against the story but is compelling in and of itself), the little kid actor who plays HW is a real find, and Jonny Greenwood's score is perfect.

Two more observations on further reflection: could this movie be about Cain and Abel? All the brother drama throughout! And what would Rene Girard make of this movie, with its brothers and twins and greed and almost sacrificial, unpunished violence? Whole lotta mimesis goin' on.

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