Tuesday, January 08, 2008
The Great Nations of Europe
"Hide your wives and daughters
Hide your groceries too
The great nations of Europe coming through." --Randy Newman (Bad Love)
If you're as art-drunk from the greatness that is THERE WILL BE BLOOD as I am, then man, how about that raw roar of actorly masculine power that was Daniel Day Lewis? It can invogorate me just by thinking of it. So if you're like me you're now thinking you need to see it again, but Union Square theater is a freakin' smelly wombfull of NYU film students, and it's likely to be months before it comes out on DVD. What's a jaded urbanite pushing into middle age--but hip and agorophobic-- to do?
I don't blame those kids though. I'd be there every day. That movie has all the dark power of the father you needed but never got; and you're getting it now. You drink from it, it's nourishment from the father to the son, on a mythic level. This movie fills a void that's been gaping in the collective consciousness since they laughed the 1980's men's movement back into the shrubbery.
The trick to it, why it succeeds so well, is the father is not good, but he's inspiring anyway. He has the thing we lost as men somewhere back around the turn of the century, and almost got back in the 1970s, and we need it. We need it to undo the damage this dark father has done. We need the guts to look down the black pit and make snap decisions; we need access to our inner hellfire, the valve that once is open unleashes a geyser of flame that only stops with more violence.
When Danny D. Lewis feeds that kid this glass of milk and whiskey, he holds it at crotch level, but it's not some weird incest symbol, it's a freakin' Aborigine initiation; I could tell you what they do, but I'd have to kill you. Suffice it to say, this is as close as I've seen. And I've been writing about this subject for years! I've been sifting through cinema like a miner for bits of gold, the gold from the shattered grail. The return of the king isn't some hobbit thing, it's a black hole being filled; it's the black hole left by JFK's assassaination. We've had almost nothing but Macbeths upon the throne ever since. The return of the true king will be bloody, but this movie announces it's coming. Arthur! King of the Britains!
Like all our best movies, THERE WILL BE BLOOD is a myth come to life. There's not a drop of sex in the film and in the total power of that decision, Anderson throws down a gauntlet that makes all these "a little sex in it" pictures of foppish men wooing dizzy gals cringe in the corner. Keep drinking, boys!
I forgot where I was for a minute. oh yeah: If you're left hungry for BLOOD's dark satiric truth telling, may I recommend Randy Newman's "Bad Love"? With chipper songs about 16th century slaughter, Karl Marx, and the general injustices and humiliations of living under someone else's power, it's the sort of thing that can keep that candle alive.
Man, how about that roar of flame that was Daniel Day Lewis?!