March 2, 2008

Blood for Oil

This has been a week of seeing films. Last night we finally went to see There Will Be Blood. It is based on Upton Sinclair's novel Oil! In 2002 the San Francisco-based theatre company Word for Word did a fantastic adaptation of the novel's opening chapter. Word for Word specializes in dramatizing books that were never intended to be presented in the theatre. The performances are literally word for word from the text. Oil's opening scene is of Daniel Plainview and his son H.W. Plainview making a car journey through California in the early 1900s. The old jalopy and even the road were brought to life in the black box theatre by actors who created a vibrant picture through of innovative props. This opening scene played out as a brief establishing shot about 20 minutes into the film.

The film was good but I wouldn't call it great. Daniel Day-Lewis is superb. I was also very impressed with the film's soundtrack by Jonny Greenwood. The sounds were deep, vibrant, disturbing and modern - at times a cacophony which perfectly illustrated the tension of the characters. Turns out Greenwood is from the band Radiohead. Fantastic to learn about this multi-talented and prolific artist. He plays guitar, viola, organ, piano, xylophone, glockenspiel, ondes Martenot, banjo and harmonica according to wikipedia. I applaud the filmmakers for being daring with the soundtrack.