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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Megan Voorhees
Megan Voorhees
Assistant News Editor

Hi! I’m Megan Voorhees and I’m the Assistant News Editor at The Northwind! I was first introduced to journalism my sophomore year of high school and I’ve been in love with the profession and writing...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

There will be Oscars for drama ‘Blood’

Each year, there are few Hollywood films that I would consider high art. Films that are both highly engaging and visually stimulating are rarities. More often than not, attempts at such films result in colossal failures — reminders that it takes a truly talented artist to captivate and move an audience simply by pointing and shooting a camera. If we’re lucky, a given year will have one film that fits this category. 2007 saw the release of such a film in “No Country for Old Men.” However, thanks to writer and director Paul Thomas Anderson (“Magnolia”), we have a second magnificent film in “There Will Be Blood.”

“Blood” opens in 1898, with Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) mining for gold in California. He finds oil instead and starts his own drilling company. Years later, he receives a tip from a young man about an untapped oil field in a town called Little Boston. He goes to the town where he meets the Sunday family, whose land the oil is on and meets Eli Sunday (Paul Dano), a young man with dreams of being a preacher at his own church. Plainview buys the land and begins drilling, while Eli builds his church. However, both men desire wealth and influence over the town and a battle ensues between the oil tycoon and the young preacher, one that will consume their lives.

There’s a lot of talk going into the Oscars of Lewis winning Best Actor, and it’s clear why. Plainview is an evil, calculated individual, made believable by Lewis’s rich, charismatic performance. He brings Plainview to life better than most actors could ever dream of doing. If Lewis doesn’t win the award, it would be one of the biggest injustices in Oscar history.

But it’s not just Lewis who puts in an amazing performance. Dano’s portrayal of Sunday is mesmerizing. You can feel his conviction as he delivers his sermons, sometimes to startling effect. It’s safe to say that Dano has put himself on the map.

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There are many themes in “Blood” and each one is explored intensely throughout the near three-hour runtime. Anderson has crafted a story that looks at how greed affects people and why they are willing to take these drastic steps to achieve what they desire. The lengths that Plainview and Sunday are willing to go to not only one-up each other, but obtain what they want is a chilling reminder of how blind we can be in our pursuits.

Not content to stick with just one aspect of the human condition, Anderson looks at the bonds of family and how religion impacts lives. These themes are more subtle, but still have an influence over the characters. What’s so great about these additional layers is that Anderson doesn’t hold the viewer’s hand. It’s a perfect balance that allows the audience to get engaged with the film but doesn’t distract from the story.

What allows “Blood” to stand out above the crowd is Anderson’s unique style of narration. The story is constructed in a manner where you see only what Anderson feels is important, but what he feels is important may not readily seem so. Because of this, Anderson spends little time setting up the story. If most directors would have done this I would have trashed their film. However, I can offer nothing but praise for Anderson. He has proven himself to be one of those rare directors who can break all the rules and make his film work better than a conventional one.

There are few films I would recommend as highly as “There Will Be Blood.” Anderson’s latest is an engrossing film that you do not want to miss. It’s one film I will definitely purchase the minute it arrives on DVD to enjoy countless more times.

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