In the early 20th century, a ruthless oil tycoon attempts
to buy valuable land out from under gullible townsfolk.
There Will Be Blood (2007)
Written and Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
Starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano, Dillon Freasier,
Kevin J. O'Connor, Ciarán Hinds, David Willis, David Warshofsky
Based on the novel Oil! by Upton Sinclair
Oscar Wins - Best Actor (Daniel Day-Lewis),
Oscar Nominations - Best Picture, Best Director,
Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing,
Best Art Direction, Best Sound Editing
There Will Be Blood has become such a celebrated modern classic solely because of the flawless performance of Daniel Day-Lewis. That being said, the film is quite entertaining. It tells a fictional account of a ruthless oil baron doing his best to take a small town for everything they've got, as the town is sitting on an ocean of oil. In his quest for power and money, Daniel Plainview (Day-Lewis) slips slowly into madness and alienates his only son. Watching Daniel Day-Lewis transform into the sociopathic Daniel Plainview is an amazing thing to witness. Amidst his remarkable filmography, his performance here stands out as something special.
The birth of the oil business acts as the background for Daniel's story, and it actually shows you a lot about how early oil drilling was conceived. I was surprised to learn that people were drilling for oil as early as the late 1890's. This film recreates the beautiful atmosphere of turn-of-the-century California and maintains a bizarre sense of emptiness throughout. While the supporting cast is fairly decent, I was very surprised at Paul Dano's performance. He kept up with Day-Lewis and acts as a great foil for the character. Dano plays Eli Sunday, a preacher who catches onto Daniel's scheme and tries to expose his villainous intentions to the townsfolk of Little Boston. The weird thing is Eli's played as an antagonist, while Daniel is our hero. You know the writing is impressive when you end up rooting against the well-meaning preacher and for the murderous oilman.
There Will Be Blood is the vehicle for one of Daniel Day-Lewis's most powerful and iconic performances. His presence elevates the film to a higher standard and keeps it from being a bore. The peculiar score pushes the film into "thriller" territory and even tries to scare you by pulling you into Daniel's mind. I didn't think I'd enjoy the film as much as I did, but it's absolutely deserving of its cult status and accolades.