TWBB: the much talked-about and hyped-about movie that’s been screaming Oscar from Day One. So, here’s my two cents on what I thought:
It’s the acting prowess of Daniel Day-Lewis that left me dumbstruck–everything from the way he rounded his vowels and the cadence of his oratorial-style speech to his masterful portrayal of a scheming oilman buying up tracts of land out West. What didn’t impress me was the story itself–there was no DRAMA to speak of, nothing that took me by surprise. There was no hook and no twist to the story. There’s no woman (or significant other) in Daniel Plainview’s life; his life is characterized more than anything by a pathetic loneliness; and his attempts at making relationships that matter– whether with individuals or institutions– are farcical and futile. The back-and-forthing with the Church is nothing earth-shattering; each party goes through the motions as and when necessary in order to profit from the association.
So, yes, Oscar-worthy for his acting, but that’s about it; and if I’m the only one who’s not completely bowled over with the movie for anything beyond its title and Mr. Day-Lewis’ acting, then so be it.
(As an extreme sidebar, perhaps I should mention that Mr. Day-Lewis’ chiseled old-world good looks– mustache and all–bear an uncanny resemblance to my husband, and that’s worth taking a second look at, weak story notwithstanding!