Inconsistent Cinema: Paul Thomas Anderson, There will be blood and the postmodern filmmaker
Barrett, K. (2021). Inconsistent Cinema: Paul Thomas Anderson, There will be blood and the postmodern filmmaker. Mise-en-scène: The Journal of Film & Visual Narration, 6(1), 54–67.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/14435
Paul Thomas Anderson’s early work up to and including There Will Be Blood (2007) are examples of incoherent, postmodern cinema. Anderson’s formative years produced four critically acclaimed features, Hard Eight (1996), Boogie Nights (1997), Magnolia (1999), and Punch-Drunk Love (2002), all of which presented related themes and aesthetics. Though There Will Be Blood does depict a complex father-son relationship similar to that found in Hard Eight, Boogie Nights, and Magnolia, the film is stylistically a radical departure for Anderson. While certain experimentation occurred in Punch-Drunk Love, There Will Be Blood is the start of the next phase of Anderson’s career, one which reflects a meditative sensibility. For instance, in place of kinetic cinematography, rapid cutting, and multiple narratives are longer takes, extended tracking shots, and a leisurely editing style. Finally, contextualizing Anderson’s career within the era of “Indiewood,” a fusion of studio and independent filmmaking, key visual techniques employed during his early work emphasize the shift in his aesthetics, high-lighting a singular, postmodern voice in Hollywood cinema.
Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Canada
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