Paul Thomas Anderson’s epic saga, There Will Be Blood, is the must see movie of the year so far - in fact, it is the best movie to hit our screens for many years. Based on Upton Sinclair’s novel, Oil!, it’s a brilliant story touching on an incredible range of themes.
Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis), with his son, H.W., rises to become a very wealthy oilman at the turn of the 20th century. He moves to a small town to drill for oil, promising wealth and happiness to the townspeople. Daniel locks horns with Eli (Paul Dano), the self-proclaimed prophet and pastor of the Church of the Third Revelation who has an oppressive grip on the town. The dominant theme of the story is about the relationship between Daniel and Eli as they commit themselves to the destruction of each other.
There Will Be Blood is a superb, sweeping narrative - a movie with a real story. The acting is comprehensively excellent supported by a haunting soundtrack and beautiful cinematography. The clash of faith vs greed provides an intense motif throughout the story supported by a host of subplots that deal with family, relationships, friendship, religion, commercialism, corruption, and the pursuit of the American dream. Ultimately, both religion (especially that which is egocentric, controlling, and self-aggrandizing) and greed (that has no regard for human love or relationships) are shown to have too great a price to pay. It is a riveting look into the depths of two dark souls.
There Will Be Blood is a universally acclaimed movie which has already won over 30 awards. It is nominated for 8 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Screenplay. If you don’t see any other movie in 2008, make sure you see this one!
My Rating: ***** (out of 5)
’The film is above all a consummate work of art, one that transcends the historically fraught context of its making, and its pleasures are unapologetically aesthetic. It reveals, excites, disturbs, provokes, but the window it opens is to human consciousness itself.’ - Manola Darghis/The New York Times
’Anderson and Day-Lewis strip themselves of their natural talents for invention and poetry, as if any hint of romance, nobility or fun would soften the film.’ - Michael Sragow/Baltimore Sun