In class we finally watched the ending of “There Will Be Blood” and afterwards I read the continuation of Christopher Orr’s review, available at this link. Orr urges readers to watch the movie for themselves first, warning them of a potential spoiler. I think his review does the movie justice: it is carefully researched, intelligent and insightful in its commentary. At the same time, there is something very personal in it, as Orr puts forth his own expectations of the movie that were supported only midway, and were finally betrayed by the ending.
I found the ending, like Orr, to be abrupt and unnecessarily violent. Whatever the director’s aim was, he could have done it less literally and more eloquently and symbolically, after all. However, I found the comments under the review equally as thought provoking and engaging as Orr’s arguments. Other readers have put forth their own interpretations of the ending, and defended director P.T. Anderson’s choices.
In order for me to really grasp the historical significance and directing ambition of the film, I would need to watch it multiple times. I agree with Orr to an extent, because the film didn’t offer a concrete, neat solution that would tie up all the loose ends. It leaves questions such as, was there really a Paul, and if so did Daniel really pay him in full? Was Eli altogether a false prophet, or did he get lost along the way? Had Daniel ever truly had a chance for redemption? Had Daniel completely lost his mind at the end of the movie in one act of violent rage, or did Eli get what he deserve, in his eyes? And the most important one of all, is there blood always where there is money?
Still, I also agree with some of the comments below the review. Not every movie works as a nice, solved jigsaw puzzle, and perhaps the confusing ending is just what this particular film needs. The reader is kept from knowing the truth, and perhaps no one will ever really know, even the director. At the same time, if he ended the movie even earlier would we still get the same effect?
Christopher Orr’s review of “There Will Be Blood” in the New Republic, which can be read here, encompasses both a broad overview of the movie as well as subjective details that the potential viewer might be interested in. It has an authoritative tone as it spans through a spectrum of pertinent areas. As I read the review, I gained a new appreciation for the movie and learned a new perspective thanks to Orr’s critical evaluation.
As with A. O. Scott’s Review of “Good Night and Good Luck” in The New York Times, reading the review after actually seeing the movie for myself added even more of a meaning to it. I caught more of the interesting points in the review that I missed before and remembered important details in the film that I dismissed while watching it. Orr was incredibly insightful in his analysis of “Blood,” and he evidently understood some of the plot’s underlying themes that I wasn’t able to grasp from watching the movie just once.
Orr began the review by evaluating the opening scenes of the movie and the significance of its symbolism. Though it was dialogue-free it said a lot in the intensity of the shots. Orr makes sure to mention all of the big names of the movie from the bat, including its director and main characters. He also ties in the title of the movie to the various forms of blood shown in the movie. He shows his expertise in the directors’ previous works by comparing it to the Gangs of New York. Lastly, Orr discusses his expectations versus the ending offered in the film.
Scott’s review is more concise and to the point, extracting the most meaning out of each written word. He summed up the background setting of the movie in the first couple of sentences; then went on to describe the historical events that the movie corresponded to accurately and with a specific directing style. His review also included the main names associated with the film and alluded to the director’s previous work. After reading Scott’s point of view, I got the sense that he is of high esteem of the film and feels that its means achieved the purpose.
If I were to write a review of either of these two movies, it would be hard to compete with these two experts because they have developed very detailed and insightful critiques. However, I could look to these reviews as examples for my future review. I haven’t decided on a subject yet, but my structure would probably be similar to these two works. I would try to develop a careful analysis of the movie, show or performance of my choice. Of course, I would mention the director’s and main character’s names throughout my review, and try to show that I have done research by including some comparison. I would also try to notice details that the average viewer might miss, proposing a significance of the director’s choice for a particular scene.