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There Will Be Blood

2007 movie with Daniel Day Lewis

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There Will Be Blood... and OIL!

  • Dec 22, 2008
Paul Thomas Anderson's loose film adaptation of Upton Sinclair's novel, Oil! is a somber masterpiece. There Will Be Blood is a fascinating examination of mankind's descent into madness, greed and zealotry. But rather than being heavy-handed or pretentious, the film is subtle, ironic and darkly humorous. It's not often that you see an American film that so skillfully balances these themes without being tainted by political partiality. Nor has there been a film in recent years that so rightly caused controversy. And yet I challenge anyone to watch this film and not be affected by it... or to forget it.
Daniel and H.W. Plainview

As viewers, we are first introduced to Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) while he's working as a miner in 1898. Soon after his interests turn to oil. From the onset we can see that he is a single-minded, determined man of an unusual nature. His main concern in life isn't himself, or his workers, or even his own son. His only care is his business and even that he pursues with seeming indifference. Daniel is not an emotive individual. He's coldly ambitious and the only evidence of his feeling human emotion at all is his explosive anger. But Daniel hides his temperament from the people he scams. He uses his son as a mascot, promoting a fabricated image of a family run business. He unrelentingly pursues landowners with a confidence that borders on egomaniacal. Still, he isn't a monster... yet. When a young man named Paul Sunday (Paul Dano) claims that his family farm has oil that seeps through the ground, Daniel is at first skeptical of a man who appears so earnest. Paul intends to be paid for his information and he doesn't care if his family loses money to Plainview. This suits Daniel well (opportunism and industry went hand in hand in the early 20th century). Daniel and his son, H.W. arrive in Paul's small town where they meet the Sunday family. Their son Eli, Paul's identical twin brother, is a preacher of a fanatical Evangelist cult and he's reluctant to allow his family to sell their land to Daniel. He can see that Daniel is a successful man and that he may be able to profit from Daniel's keen sense of business. The pairing of these two men, both dangerously greedy and prideful, leads to a dramatic confrontation. Eli says that God will curse the oil well unless Daniel pays tribute to the church and allows Eli to bless the derrick. When Daniel dismisses Eli disaster strikes and H.W. suffers the consequences. Before long a stranger shows up in town declaring that he's Daniel's long lost brother. But he is not what he seems and Daniel's discovery of this brings him to the precipice of insanity and pushes him over the edge. His combined guilt for his mistakes with H.W., his all-consuming hatred of Eli and his blind ambition lead him to a horrific finale. The last scene of the film is an electrifying and unsettling culmination of one man's journey into madness.

This film isn't for everyone. I loved it but I enjoy stories told from the dark depths of the human psyche. The film isn't as violent as the title implies but it is shocking and disturbing. Paul Thomas Anderson, who also directed Boogie Nights and Magnolia, has created a psychological epic chronicling two men's moral and mental disintegration. The style of the film reminds me of controversial director D.W. Griffith's silent historical melodramas, which explore similarly pessimistic views of life. Ultimately, There Will Be Blood is a masterful exploration of two greatly flawed characters who are portrayed by immensely talented actors.
There Will Be Blood... and OIL! There Will Be Blood... and OIL! Father and Son There Will Be Blood... and OIL!

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July 10, 2010
I own it but have yet to open it, seems like I need 2.
July 10, 2010
It's one of those movies that will divide people. Most either love it or hate it. For me it was the best film of 2007.
December 27, 2009
Amazing review! I loved this movie it is one of my favorite movies of all time.
December 23, 2009
I understand the messages and whatnot of the film... I just never found it to be all that enjoyable.  I liked Daniel Day Lewis's performance, and Paul Dano... but the movie just bores the living hell out of me.  And that's strange because normally this is the kind of I would gobble up and love.  I recall seeing this in the theater and just all around being bored stiff with it, and that made it feel longer than it was.  The final moments are iconic in every way, it's all that stuff in between the beginning and end that I just couldn't stand.  I probably won't forget it... but not for the reasons you listed... but only because the next time someone asks me to watch it with them (and there are A LOT of people who constantly ask me to because their excuse is always, "It's your kind of movie,") I just remember that it really bored me.

It's a GOOD film, don't get me wrong.  Particularly the acting, but when it was all said and done, I was too bored of it and happy it was over to really care for the messages locked within, and I've sat through the movie more than once.  In the end I just didn't enjoy it.

Although I must be the only one searching for the shocking and disturbing stuff in it.  It's definitely dark but I never saw anything which shocked or disturbed me.  There's gotta be something I'm missing.
December 23, 2009
Am I right in guessing that you're also not a fan of silent films? For me, anyway, this film was made much like a silent film in that it a had a very slow pace, little dialogue, and three distinct acts... so if you aren't fond of that older style of cinematic storytelling I could see why it wouldn't appeal to you. I loved it though. Have you read the book? It's one of those that I need to get around to.
December 23, 2009
Actually, I love Silent Films and while sometimes pacing can urk me... I often get over that hurdle.  Like I said, this is the kind of movie I should, well, love.  And just didn't.  I haven't yet read the book, either, although I'll probably pick it up in the future.
December 23, 2009
Apparently, the book and movie are very different, but I don't think that reading the book will diminish my appreciation for the film. So, what kind of silent films do you like?
December 23, 2009
Nice take to this film. I was so impressed with Lewis' acting that I think I may have missed some of its messages as to darkness and the lengths man would sink to. It was good, but I thought it could have been a little better.
December 23, 2009
Thanks Woo. This film got a lot of slack for having an older style of narrative and editing, but the slower pace and lack of talking made it all the more riveting. Both Lewis and Dano were incredible. Any specific complaints from your side?
December 23, 2009
Not really sure since I only saw it once on dvd. I guess one flaw it has is the fact that the movie is a bit demanding that the viewer really needs to be immersed in the narrative to truly appreciate it. The performances were impeccably flawless; I think it was the film's driving force. I need to review this...
More There Will Be Blood reviews
review by . August 08, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I confess to being rather late getting around to seeing this. It's one of those films that managed to pass me by upon its release, despite the fact that I was constantly hearing praise for it and despite the fact that I am a fan of Paul Thomas Anderson's previous work.      Let me say this right from the start: There Will Be Blood is definitely not a film that will be enjoyed by everyone. In fact, I think some will outright hate it. It's a film that is hard to enjoy …
Quick Tip by . July 26, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
This is the movie that should have won best picture of the year. Daniel Day Lewis is never a disappointment. This is definitely another movie where the tadum of the directing and scoring elevate the movie to a rare and powerful level.
review by . May 15, 2009
It is 1898, and Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) has just struck oil for the first time. As the years pass, Plainview becomes a wealthy oilman, traveling the countryside with his son, buying land and building oil wells. When he buys one farm, he begins an antagonistic relationship with a young preacher.     I didn't "get" this movie. I know critics praised it for being a great piece of art but for me it was two and a half long hours of monotonous tedium. The only thing interesting …
review by . December 19, 2008
I love the historical fiction/drama genre, especially if it has to do with California. And There Will Be Blood falls into that category perfectly!    The film follows an oilman played by Daniel Day-Lewis as he develops oil fields in Central California. As the film progresses, he becomes more engrossed in his oil and more obsessed with his wealth, eventually leading to a near mental breakdown at the end.    Best line from the film? "I drink your milkshake!" …
review by . November 15, 2008
Powerful performances by Daniel Day Lewis and Paul Dano make this film worth watching. As for the story itself, well, it's not a pretty one. The love of money (and oil) changes Daniel Plainview (Lewis) from an enterprising, industrious man and decent human being, into a whiskey soaked degenerate, who eventually alienates everyone close to him.     Preacher Eli Sunday (Dano, in a double role as both Paul and Eli Sunday) serves up fire and brimstone at the pulpit, but even his …
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There Will Be Blood is an American drama film written, produced, and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. The Academy-Award winning film, released December 26, 2007, is loosely based on the book Oil!, written by Upton Sinclair. 

The film depicts the development and consequences of an oil production boom in California's Central Valley in the early 20th century and the pursuit of wealth by a silver miner turned oilman played by Daniel Day-Lewis.

There Will Be Blood was received very well among critics upon its release. In addition, it appeared on many critics' "top ten" lists for the year, including the National Society of Film Critics and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. Actor Daniel Day-Lewis won Oscar, BAFTA, Golden GlobeNYFCC, Screen Actors' Guild, and IFTA Best Actor awards for his performance. Additionally, There Will Be Blood was nominated for eight Academy Awards; Daniel Day-Lewis won Best Actor, and Robert Elswit won Best Cinematography. It grossed more than $75 million worldwide.
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Genre: Drama
Release Date: December 26, 2007
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Paul Thomas Anderson
Runtime: 158 minutes
Studio: Paramount
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