As far as epics go for the 2007-2008 period go, my top slot has already been assumed - as you might well know by now - by The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, an absolutely spell-binding, myth-meditating western.
However, there is another heavy weight contender out there - PT Anderson's There Will Be Blood. Mark Kermode has ranted and raved about this film with similar passion as I have for The Assassination of Jesse James (or as my fellow online movie nerds would say, "flat out flaming for it").
It's a timely movie, considering the fuss surrounding oil - the black, liquid gold. It's a tale of ambition, greed, deception, corruption, attempted redemption, anger, murder, capitalism unbound ... basically it's bloated with the sheer volume of narrative themes.
Admittedly, I found the last 40 minutes or so to, not drag, but just lose some of that special something - for me anyway. What preceded this sedate third act (or indeed fourth act) was gripping to say the least. Beautiful images, weighty performances, direction of absolute craft and obsessive precision ... I guess the comparative stroll of the final scenes didn't strike me as hard as they might have done. However, there's always the second viewing, which will no doubt confirm the power of these final scenes for me - not that I deny this now. Perhaps I was personally just beginning to tap out a smidge by that stage, there is a fair shift in gears for the final act.
As already said though, it's a film of brutish strength in all its creative extents, a coming together of artists, which culminated in a modern epic (see also Into The Wild). It seems that amidst the cheap ideas, remakes and MTV-sucking tat, that there is a bit of a renaissance going on somewhere inside Hollywood. Those with plenty of clout (such as PTA and Brad Pitt) are pushing the boundaries of artistic filmmaking, they're trying to seek out something more, something epic, something meaningful. Today it seems, after the inspiring renaissance seen on the small screen during recent years, the 'New Hollywood' era is making a come back.
Such bold entries into the annals of cinematic history will never go away, but will hibernate from time-to-time, now though - the grizzly has awakened, and it's impressive.