When the majority of people go to the movie theatre, they go to see an actor or perhaps an exciting theme. Will Smith in I Am Legend was a big attraction this weekend. Everybody just had to see Transformers last summer. I went myself, despite my usual tendency to avoid a movie with so much hype. I should have trusted my instincts. What attracts me to the theatre is the film maker and their track record. If I like what they’ve done, I’ll more likely not be disappointed. This Christmas opens one of those films where I need hear just one name and I’m there, Paul Thomas Anderson.
This Christmas, There Will Be Blood. I know for a fact this film will be amazing simply by the filmmaker and his past. P.T. Anderson is one of the greatest American filmmakers of his generation. His films display a knowledge of both history and film aesthetics, as well as Martin Scorsese or Robert Altman. His camera constantly moves as swift as the edits, and he’s known for long takes with big ensemble casts like those other iconic directors.
In 1996 Anderson made his first feature film Sydney or Hard Eight. His talent was noticed immediately giving him the opportunity to make Boogie Nights (1997) which became the break through film of the year. He was nominated for an Oscar for Best Screenplay and earned nominations for his actors Burt Reynolds and Julianne Moore. The success of Boogie Nights gave Anderson the freedom to make a very personal film for a huge amount of money, Magnolia (1999).
Anderson has said about Magnolia that it’s, “the best film I’ll ever make.” Tom Cruise came aboard in a supporting role, which earned him an Oscar nomination, just so he could work with what, he called a “genius.” The public did not agree with him. Anderson was again nominated for an Oscar for Best Screenplay, but many found the film to be too long and the ending not only confusing, but without closure.
He did not make a film for 3 years, and the next would be a much smaller film about love, Punch Drunk Love. It was a marvelous example of a director who can astonish you with his craft, while making such diverse films, not only in content but also in size. His usual ensemble became just two. The brilliant and dramatic Emily Watson paired with one of the worlds biggest comedic actors Adam Sandler. Anderson has a gift for writing dialogue for particular actors, and it was no exception with Sandler. He won Best Director at Cannes and the film did well at the box office.
Five years later he releases his next film. When Daniel Day Lewis has agreed to play the lead, you know you are in for a hell of a picture. The film is also scored by Johnny Greenwood, lead guitarist for Radiohead. It is based on the novel “Oil” by Upton Sinclair. That is all I know about the film that I’m calling one of the great films of the year. Paul Thomas Anderson has my highest respects and has never let me down. His are all some of my favorite films and I encourage anyone to see them and There Will Be Blood this Christmas.