Entries tagged with “Daniel Day-Lewis”.


The lead male hero in “Phantom Thread” is a tailor of the high society ladies in a city of London vaguely located in time sometimes after WWII. It is seldom that I am in such a disagreement with the opinions of the majority of the film critics and of many of my friends whose opinions I appreciate. I cannot refrain myself however to express my feelings about this film by quoting the famous short tale by Hans Christian Andersen about the tailors that sewed the “emperor’s new clothes”. I need to shout: “The emperor is naked!” “This film is bad!” Not even can save it. IMHO, of course.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5776858

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5776858

 

I need now, of course, to explain. I will try to do it without committing the sin of writing a spoiler. It’s the love story between a man well over 50 and a young woman in her 20s. Their are separated not only by the age difference, but also by a social gap (he is a famous tailor of the rich and famous, she is a servant in a country inn) and a difference of nationality left vague in the story. He is one of the best tailors in the world, totally dedicated and immersed in his art. He picks the young woman more like an instrument that fits his artistic model and goals, while the young woman (acted by )  is completely falling in love with him. In order to draw his attention she will do something terrible which I will not reveal, not once but twice. The result is his complete surrender first into marriage, later into parenthood. His creative power seems however to diminish, and the final is actually vague again about his continuing artistic path. The story is outrageous (and I do not allow myself to be outraged to easily), non-credible and ridiculous.

 

(video source Focus Features)

 

I liked a lot ‘s “There Will Be Blood” and especially “The Master“. I am quite astonished about his latest works including this film. He probably intended to bring to screen a story of love and horror, of passion not shared, of a relationship that is based on a terrible lack of balance. The story he created and the solutions he found did not work for me. I am even more disappointed because of the superb acting of who is again investing all his acting style and talent in order not to act but to become his character. I will be very sorry it this is the last film of his acting career. Maybe he will change his mind. What about the role of a great artist like Leonard Bernstein or Herbert von Karajan? While watching “Phantom Thread” I was thinking about these two great music conductors as characters of the same huge talent and intensity as the one of the hero he brings to screen in this film.  deserves a better final.

 

 

I have somehow avoided seeing There Will Be Blood for ten years despite its success, and despite having as lead actor who got his second Academy Award for this role. The reason is that I was under the impression that this is one of those Big American Sagas which make great impression at the Oscars but seldom have convinced me to jump on their ship of emotions. This is true to some extent, as the film deals with the period of the beginning of oil drilling in the United States, the very important difference being that this saga has not an American Hero but and American Anti-Hero as main character. Which probably makes the film even more interesting.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0469494/

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0469494/

 

The story takes starts before the turn of the 19th to the 20th century and ends in the late 1920s, following the raising of an oil magnate from his first discovery of one oil pit to his taking over a small empire of oil fields and the building of the pipes that ensure the transportation. Daniel Plainview, the character played by Day-Lewis seems to come from nowhere and grows from being nothing to the status of a millionaire. Achieving this takes not only luck and a complete lack of any scruples in dealing with competitors, friends or his very close ones – it also takes his soul. The story is kind of Faustian, it’s just that Satan never shows up, or maybe he is there during the whole story under the form of the black gold. The script is loosely based on a novel by Upton Sinclair, with the difference that while in the Socialist writer novel the emphasis is on the social aspects with a critical view of the Capitalist system, in this adaptation it’s the moral aspects that prevail, with Planview’s character finding a counterpart and nemesis in preacher Eli Sunday (). It’s the material world faced with the possible spiritual salvation, another Faustian theme if you wish, but the preacher character eventually proves to be as corrupt and empty in substance as its arch-rival, which makes it unable to fulfill its goal. The destinies of the two are interleaved and they both end in damnation. Director opens here a theme which he will continue in his next great picture The Master which offered the opportunity of incarnating one of his last greatest roles.

 

(video source Movieclips Trailer Vault)

 

At the end of the day, telling the story of an American hero or of an American anti-hero does not look that different. It is still one of these sagas starting in the days of the rush for gold and ending when the rush for the black gold – the oil – stabilizes into the big corporations consolidations. The lead hero does not seem to have real roots in history or a specific place, and he needs none as most of the attention is focused on its deeds, mostly evil, with the exception of the personal survival story that is being told in the first 15 minutes. As any saga that respects itself it’s long, which in cinema today means more that two and a half hours, which according to tastes and attention pass more or less easy. ‘s performance is superb, he fills the screen with his personality to the point that the balance between his character and the one played by is broken in his favor. Dano acts well but he just cannot raise to the height and intensity of Day-Lewis. There Will Be Blood is one of those movies which cannot be really placed in a specific box, or in more than one – they just build to themselves a category and a name of their own.

 

 

There are many ways one can dislike Nine . For example trying to compare it with the films of Frederico Fellini, on whose figure the main character in the movie is based on. Or trying to compare it with Broadway musicals, as the one from the 80s on which the film is based upon. Fellini’s films are unique, and by the time the great Italian director was making 8 1/2 Rob Marshall, the director of Nine was just born. Broadway musicals have their own laws of casting, of staging, of telling the story. The screen adaptation of a musical about the making of a film by Fellini is not a film of Fellini and not a Broadway musical. I liked Nine the movie, and here are my arguments.

 

source www.imdb.com/title/tt0875034/

source www.imdb.com/title/tt0875034/

 

Nine is a musical about a film in a film. We are from the start introduced in the atmosphere with an opening song where the theme and the stars of the show are paraded on the kind of music that builds the entertaining score of the show. The sets are the ones in the Cinecita studios where the famous director Guido Contini prepares his next film. It is just that his film is not at all ready as the producer expects. The director’s style of life is as chaotic as his manner of making movies. The personal history is a series of relations with women – from his mother (Sophia Loren, back on the big screens after many years of absence, still glamorous) to his wife, his lover, his inspiring actress, admirers, etc. Can he put all these relations together and make sense of his private life in order to focus on his art? Or maybe he is just destroying himself, and the people around him, especially the women he is involved with? I will just say that the result is entertaining and in my opinion does not make a bad service at all to the image of Fellini.

 

(video source HQTrailers1)

 

I started by listing the reasons one can dislike Nine, but there are many reasons to like it as well. These include the presence on screen of stars like Sophia Loren, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, Nicole Kidman, Kate Hudson, Judy Dench. They all look beautiful, they all act, sing, dance and create characters that are distinct and expressive and find their right places in the story. But before all we have Daniel Day-Lewis. Let me say that Day-Lewis is an actor I admire but I do not necessarily love. Well, I may be starting the process of falling for him – as I absolutely adored his performance here. He is passionate, he is troubled, he fights with his past and Catholic upraising, he loves and sins, he is credible. However, my ultimate criteria of liking or disliking a film is whether it succeeds to create emotion. And yes, Nine succeeded to make me care for its heroes, made me remember Fellini and wish to see again his films, and it entertained me. On the IMDB scale it’s a NINE.