Director Paul Thomas Anderson’s “There Will Be Blood” is an unflinching examination of a consummately evil man. Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) is, as he likes to remind those around him, an oil man: he finds it, he drills for it, and he makes money from it. Following a tip from a visitor named Paul Sunday, whose family sits atop a veritable ocean of oil, Plainview travels to the town of New Boston, California, with his young son. Sunday’s preacher brother Eli (both roles are played by Paul Dano) grudgingly accepts Plainview’s ambitions under the condition that he help fund the town church. As Plainview’s plans come to fruition, a series of events begin to fracture the insular world he has constructed for himself, pitting Plainview against Sunday and forcing him to become even more vindictive and ruthless.
For too long Paul Thomas Anderson has been on the cusp of reaching that level that only few directors have yet reached. He came closest in “Boogie Nights” and some might say “Magnolia” as well. But none reached the level of “There Will Be Blood.” The question is: Were all the stars aligned with the cast and plot or is Anderson is just a flat-out brilliant. There is some gumbo of all elements. Anderson is a very good director who had a great script and a once-in-a-lifetime actor in Daniel Day-Lewis.
I won’t say this is Daniel Day-Lewis’ best performance ever. It’s damn good. I mean you watch and are transported to that time and place. But Day-Lewis did this to even greater effect in “Streets of New York.” Then again “Streets of New York” was a better movie overall because each piece worked perfectly as a team.
It’s quite a testament to the movie itself that you care about this oil baron in a time when the world is going to hell over oil. This look into greed and capitalism brings the character Plainview into perspective. Like Tony Soprano, there are reasons to love and hate Plainview. We love his desire to adopt a boy after the accidental death of an employee. We hate that Plainview will do anything to get what he wants. But in the end we are sadistic enough to want him to win.
The extras leave a lot to be desired. There isn’t much to love on the special edition. It’s a shame.
* 15 Minutes – Research, Etc.
* Fishing Sequence
* Haircut / Interrupted Hymn
* Dailies Gone Wild
* The Story of Petroleum
Danial Day-Lewis is brilliant. His performance is worth buying the movie alone–the fact that there is a great movie surrounding him is a bonus. Anyone who loves great film-making will also enjoy what is a true cinematic experience.
Watch the trailer: