Synopsis: A story of family, religion, hatred, oil and madness, focusing on a turn-of-the-century prospector in the early days of the business.
For more info and to watch the trailer, click here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0469494/?ref_=ttfc_fc_tt
Who chose it: Brent
Why I chose it: This is one of my favorite movies and I’ve been trying for a couple of years to get Leah to see it, to no avail. So I decided to think up this whole calendar thing as a ploy to get her to finally watch it; success!
Daniel Plainview is a rotten excuse for a human being. If you think that sounds harsh, consider that this would either at best be taken by him as a compliment or he wouldn’t actually care what I said. Singularly focused on expanding his oil drilling company, Plainview will do or say literally anything to get ahead.
“I have a competition in me,” he confides to his long lost brother. “I want no one else to succeed. I hate most people… I want to earn enough money I can get away from everyone.”
Paul Thomas Anderson’s career began with a duo of hits: Boogie Nights and then Magnolia, which appeared earlier on our film calendar. After the very underrated Punch-Drunk Love, PTA delivered his magnum opus in There Will Be Blood. Loosely based on Upton Sinclair’s novel “Oil!”, this film centers on the Plainview character from the first to last frames.
To whom does Plainview belong? Daniel Day-Lewis, my favorite leading actor. Day-Lewis is my favorite leading actor because of this performance, which is the most masterful leading performance I can summon not only because of its ability to use silence and gestures to communicate an inner torment that cannot be explained, but also because of the high-wire act the character must perform in order to make the movie work. If Day-Lewis slips just but once, the film begins to fall apart. He doesn’t, it doesn’t, and it was worthy of his second Academy Award win.
The ensemble delivers noteworthy performances, no one taking away from the overall acting quality of the film. Paul Dano in particular shines in the dual roles of Paul and Eli Sunday, the latter of which becomes Plainview’s nemesis throughout the film.
There Will Be Blood is an epic that plays itself like a tight drama. The narrative springs forward with urgency, but the film’s pace lingers. The film is beautifully photographed (earning its other Oscar win), but the beauty in the frame is often of great menace: burning oil derricks, or perhaps spillers of the titular blood. Even Day-Lewis’ performance as the despicable Plainview presents his character in contrast with his charisma. These competing elements create a great unease for the audience, pulling us forward and backward, in and out. The film’s climax would be flat if not for these elements, but their presence in the film makes the payoff a delight of film.
While filming, There Will Be Blood neighbored the production of No Country For Old Men and actually forced a delayed in their filming while testing some pyrotechnics. The latter film won Best Picture, the former a clear runner-up in my opinion. I prefer There Will Be Blood, personally, but I recognize that it’s merely a result of my personal preference. It was unfortunately timing to release them in the same year because they’re both modern classics. Both should be seen, but There Will Be Blood should be seen with more haste.
It’s available for free streaming on Amazon Prime. Watch it.
From the first few seconds of its haunting soundtrack, “There Will Be Blood” captures the attention of the viewer and does not relinquish its hold until the very last scene. It certainly captured my attention- in a way that few movies have. I was completely spellbound throughout the entirety of the story despite its plot revolving around a horrible man who does horrible things.
“There Will Be Blood” plays very much like a stage play. It was, in fact, inspired by an Upton Sinclair novel called “Oil!”. Complimented beautifully by Robert Elswit’s stunning cinematography and Jonny Greenwood’s (who also happens to be a member of Radiohead- undoubtedly another reason Brent loves this film so much) interesting and intense soundtrack- the film is an absolute masterpiece in every way that a movie can be.
The film centers on Daniel Plainview (played by Daniel Day-Lewis), an oil man who will do anything (and I mean anything) to be rich and successful in his field. Of course, Daniel encounters many obstacles including the physical dangers of oil rigging, complicated family dynamics, religion, and jealous competitors. “There Will Be Blood” is not exactly a fast-paced story (there’s not even any spoken dialogue until fourteen minutes in), but it is a captivating one.
Of course, the centerpiece of this film is Daniel Day-Lewis. I’m ashamed to admit that the only film I had ever seen Day-Lewis in before this was one of his more recent and acclaimed movies, 2012’s “Lincoln” (I’m sure once Brent finds this out, he’ll divorce me). Day-Lewis is known for being a method actor and completely disappearing into the characters he plays. This role is no different. There is no Day-Lewis. There is only Daniel Plainview.
Day-Lewis gives a thoroughly incredible performance in this film, but I also must mention the impressive acting of Paul Dano. Aside from this film, Dano is probably most famous for his portrayal of Dwayne from 2006’s “Little Miss Sunshine”- in which he gives a very different but just as memorable performance as Eli Sunday in “There Will Be Blood”. Dano is an underrated actor; behind a seemingly quiet facade, he’s a powerful and intense performer.
There are so many things I could talk about with “There Will Be Blood”, but something that I found interesting about it is that Daniel Plainview gets what he wants in the end. He states his intentions mid-way through the film: “I have a competition in me. I want no one else to succeed. I hate most people… I want to earn enough money I can get away from everyone.” As we watch, we realize that Daniel is more a villain than the protagonist of the film- and we don’t expect him to succeed. But he gets everything he desired to have. Even after pushing everything and everyone away from him, after every terrible thing he’s done- he wins. There will be no justice in this story. There will only be blood.
This film is a knockout. See it.
Up next: We bought our tickets to see Star Wars tonight, so… let the countdown begin!
Peace out, kids.