Posted by Maria Mills | Posted on 12:10 PM | Posted in
Movie Review written by: Born Movie Reviews
RT Critics Rating: 9.1/10
Born Movie Reviews' Rating: 10/10 (Full Score)
THERE WILL BE BLOOD (2007) - Paul Thomas Anderson
Remember Charles Foster Kane? The wealthy dominating monster of the world that he lived in. Imagine him to be grittier, with a voice that is both tough and deep. Imagine him to regret nothing in his life, and hates everyone else in the world. Meet Daniel Plainview, incredibly and shockingly portrayed by Daniel Day-Lewis. To quote Roger Ebert, Plainview "lacks a 'Rosebud.'" Brutal and maddening in his performance, Daniel Day-Lewis deservedly won his Oscar for There Will Be Blood.
Very loosely based on the 1927 novel Oil!, There Will Be Blood revolves around Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis), an oilman on a ruthless quest for wealth during Southern California's oil boom of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. After the first hour, the film quickly and efficiently escalates into a character study between Plainview and Eli Sunday (Paul Dano), a pastor for the Church of the Third Revelation.
This is inevitably one of the greatest films in American cinema, from its themes and humanism to its cinematic scale and exploration of an American past-time. For a film that portrays this and goes the extra mile (ten miles), There Will Be Blood is skillful directing at its largest power. In combination with Oscar-deserving cinematography, Paul Thomas Anderson is one of the most knowledgable directors of our time, knowing when to give long single takes for powerhouse performances while immersing the audience into his world with location-use.
As the film progresses, it feeds the audience more and more on its themes, ranging from greed, madness, and the conflict between business and religion. Forget large sets. Forget visual aids. Go all the way back to solid screenwriting, incredible acting, and old-fashioned filmmaking. This is a film that could have been made in years as early as the 70s, and that is what makes There Will Be Blood, a 2007 movie, so ingeniously crafted. It towers over the audience, and packs the greatest punch it can manage. In agreement with Peter Travers, the film "hits with hurricane force." However, what makes this film unique compared to others? Well, when you have a work of cinematic art that is both gripping and strange and disturbing, yet combines it all as one constructive force, you get one of the most surprising achievements in the movie industry in years.
I am surprised that Paul Dano was not nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, for he executed Eli Sunday with great life, especially under his limited given time. Although Dano plays twin brothers in the film that never appear at once, the writing of both characters and the portrayal of both characters are so detailed that one will never come close to complaining. By the way, every scene that is only Paul Dano and Daniel Day-Lewis is embossed in gold.
Once again, Daniel Day-Lewis proved to the world that he is one of the very few actors who can fully transform himself from actor to character. Here, with the help of the Oscar-winning camerawork, and the genius of Paul Thomas Anderson, Day-Lewis has found himself well-supplied with so much freedom to expose his talent. With a plethora of long single takes, Day-Lewis manages to shift his facial expressions from one minute to the next while sitting in a chair. Soon, he gets up and talks to another character, as the camera "gets up" as well as follows him. By now, we have forgotten that this was all one take. Instead, what we are given is a brand-new character whose name will be remembered for years, thanks to a whole new realm of realism provided by the filmmaking crew and Day-Lewis. The perfect combination gives you the perfect outcome.
On the contrary, it is understandable that some will criticize the pacing of the film and the bizarre (if that is the correct adjective) atmosphere it has throughout. However, I would argue that if one refuses to watch There Will Be Blood because of this very reason, then at least watch it just for Daniel Day-Lewis' performance. You might just find yourself instantly pulled into the narrative with Day-Lewis' guidance.
Arguably, There Will Be Blood is not a perfect film. It has flaws here and there and some may even find the ending unsatisfactory. But what brings me to award this film its full score rating is its wide ambition and its overall accomplishment, in addition to the fact that this film was made in the 2000s. Hell, the acting in the film has already sold me within the first hour. As a controversial opinion, I do not believe There Will Be Blood is a masterpiece. I do however believe this is a brilliant piece of innovative filmmaking, and for its execution, energy, and raw power, it deserves my greatest respect as a film critic and as a young filmmaker.
In conclusion, There Will Be Blood is a fantastic film, a film that every American needs to see, maybe not because it is the best film ever made, but because it deserves to be seen by everyone -- like it or not. However, what you will like, and admire, is Daniel Day-Lewis' sensational performance. As for Paul Thomas Anderson, he will be remembered as one of the best directors that we still have today, alongside Spielberg, Scorsese, and Soderbergh. Although it is debatable whether There Will Be Blood holds up for multiple viewings, it is gifted with an extraordinary cast, along with amazingly simple cinematography, skillful directing, and a grand scale of cinematic filmmaking.