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"I drink your milkshake! I drink it up!"

Posted by Ty Burr  December 4, 2007 01:11 PM

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Saw "There Will Be Blood" yesterday, on day 1 of what we refer to in-house as the Oscar-movie death march (Coppola's "Youth Without Youth" today at 2, "Charlie Wilson's War" at 7, "Sweeney Todd" tomorrow. Etc.)

Anyway, "Blood." The return of Paul ("Boogie Nights") Thomas ("Magnolia") Anderson ("Punch-Drunk Love"). The return of Daniel Day-Lewis and the second coming of Paul Dano (the mute kid from "Little Miss Sunshine") as, respectively, Capitalism and Old-Time Religion battling it out for the American soul in the early days of the 20th century. Very weird, very funny, very scary, and I wasn't sure I liked it until I couldn't get it out of my head all night.

Wesley's assigned to review this when it gets released at the end of December, and I don't want to steal his thunder. A few observations, then, rather than a full-on early take. Day-Lewis owns this movie, which makes sense, since it's an epic two and a half hour character sketch rather than a thickly plotted narrative. The performance has pieces of every self-made American monster who has walked through our movie imagination, from Charles Foster Kane to John Huston's Noah Cross in "Chinatown." (Day-Lewis' Daniel Plainview even sounds like Huston.) "Blood" is a radical stylistic shift for Anderson, brooding and monomaniacal where his previous films were mannered and impassioned. The dialogue is cryptic but beautiful; the subject heading above comes from a climactic scene and is nearly operatic in its lunacy. (It even makes sense in context.) The source material, Upton Sinclair's "Oil!," seems to have been mined for its characters alone, as though Anderson had ripped them out of the book and set them walking , to see where they'd go.

I can't wait to see it again.

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Ty Burr is a film critic with The Boston Globe.

Mark Feeney is an arts writer for The Boston Globe.

Janice Page is movies editor for The Boston Globe.

Tom Russo is a regular correspondent for the Movies section and writes a weekly column on DVD releases.

Katie McLeod is Boston.com's features editor.

Rachel Raczka is a producer for Lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment at Boston.com.

Emily Wright is an Arts & Entertainment producer for Boston.com.

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