I’m surprised there was no fuss attending the curious case of the BBFC’s classification of There Will Be Blood – the latest movie vehicle opportunity for Daniel Day-Lewis (who has just won the Best Actor Bafta) to hog out everyone else and show what a big cock he is. It’s not acting, it’s only controlled bipolarism. His Jupiter in Virgo makes him perfectionist, see. It’s not him acting, he’s just a celestial automaton.
Originally the British censor gave it a 12A. But following a complaint by its “submitting company” (Paramount Vantage? Ghoulardi? Miramax?) it raised the cert. to 15. One is tempted to be impressed by the right-thinking attitude of the movie-makers - doubtless some astrological shift accounts for the topsy-turvy – but cynical old Arcati can’t help but wonder whether 15 sounds more cool than the Disney catchment aud of 12A. 15 presses the right machismo buttons while 12A is the land of nancy.
I hadn’t realised that the BBFC allows itself to become part of the marketing drive of movie producers. Given the peculiarity of its altered decision, why didn’t it publish the reasons advanced by the submitting company for raising the certificate?* I would like to know if producers now accept a link between their violent inventions and street thuggery in the shopping malls, perpetrated by thick hoodie fil - oops, I must stop sounding like the Express.
Leo DiCaprio had a laugh at Day-Lewis’ expense a few years ago when I interviewed him in Cannes for the similarly brutal Gangs of New York in which D-L played a homicidal butcher. “We didn’t see a great deal of Dan,” he said. “But we could always hear him sharpening his knives in his trailer [wink]” How we snickered.
*The BBFC did publish this however: BBFC Guidelines at '12A' state that 'Violence must not dwell on detail. There should be no emphasis on injuries or blood'. In this film there is one scene in particular in which the main character launches an attack on another, with the bloody aftermath visible. The scene in question depicts a strong moment of personalised violence, in which the character in question is bludgeoned to death, with resultant sight of blood. Although the scene dwells on injuries and blood to a limited extent, as the denoument of the film it is a powerful and disturbing sequence and the overall feeling is that the level of detail shown is too strong for a '12A' audience.