[When I first wrote this a couple of days ago I thought it might be too mean, but then I saw that I’m not the only one that took issue with the review.]
On over at Books&Culture, Jean Bethka Elshtain writes a review of “There Will Be Blood” that is a little overwrought (is that a criticism I get to make?), but appropriately gushing toward the film. There are several comments I have however.
“When I saw [Magnolia] in a theater in Chicago, there were murmurs of perplexity from exiting filmgoers. “Like, what the hell was the frog thing about?”, I overheard one fellow say, a statement objectionable for two reasons: first, the ubiquitous, distracting, and slightly demented repetition of “like”; second, the illustration of complete biblical ignorance. Ever hear of the plagues Moses called down on the Pharoah and Egypt?”
Yeah, except neither had Anderson. He got the idea from reading a book on weird phenomenon.
And as a sidenote is it really necessary to mention Martin Luther, Hannah Arnedt, Alexis de Tocqueville, and St. Augustine? You could just have a sidebar of the books you’ve been reading recently.*
“In large part, Plainview’s tragedy is that he needs other people the way an addict needs a fix: to triumph over, to kick in the balls (sorry, crude but necessary), to bury, all too literally at one turning point.”
I’m sorry? Why is it necessary? What I’m saying is that stylistically, using words like “lugubrious” and “stentorian” with “balls” and “bejesus” results in a tone problem.
“After a ritualized danse macabre between the two protagonists…”
I love the pointless interjection of foreign languages, tres chic, muy beneficio.