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  • People did not like this movie for a simple reason: too negative. I can understand that this movie is so depressing in so may ways.

    What it shows that Big Fish eats Litte Fish and none of us want to think about that anymore than most of us experience it in our daily life. It shows the battle between the evangelicals and the corporate business man. Or maybe even the battle between evangelicals of today and the non-religious people or atheists of today. Even worse is that this movie shows that religious people, priests are or can be as bad as a corrupt oil man. Maybe why people did not like this movie is because it might have offended them. Especially Paul Dano playing the priest. Both Daniel Day Lewis and Paul Dano are wrong and too extreme on their opinions. People are able to accept this. What people cannot accept is though that these same extremities and same misguided opinions from both characters are very much true in that they are heavily believed still today. Not all Christains are like Paul Dano's character and not all business man are like Daniel Day Lewis's character but many are like them. That is the world we live in.

    Now is their any alternative or positive side? The answer is yes and that is H.W. the son of Daniel Plainview(Daniel Day Lewis). He epitomizes hope. He shows that despite being deaf and having a father who uses him as a ploy for better business he can still break free of the chains that he is being tied down by. What separates H.W. from the residents and evangelists of Little Boston? The difference is that he and his father are educated and they are not. That is how Daniel Plainview is able to manipulate and cheat them the Sunday family, even Eli Sunday(Paul Dano) the priest and preacher of Little Boston. From what H.W. sees and experiences he sees that much of what is around him is just wrong. He uses his experience that he had gained as a kid to break free of the corruption and chaos that could have taken over him. That is one aspect of the education I'am talking about: our experiences and understanding of what is happening around us.

    Now to get to the technical aspects of There Will Be Blood. It is just truly spectacular in every way. First off the acting was amazing. Daniel Day Lewis gave arguably the best performance of his career playing Daniel Plaiview or ever since movies began to be made. He freaked me out and probably shocked many people. His thirst for power and money was at such a high level that it made me wonder about what people are really capable of. The deceiving, the greed, the thirst for power and the every man for himself attitude actually looked more real than ever to me. Without Daniel Day Lewis I don't think this movie could have achieved what it has. Paul Dano gave a great performance as Eli Sunday though people tend to disagree. I think he gave a great portrayal of an extremist evangelical priest of how he himself had his own thirst for power and how he was more blasphemous then respectful and gracious to god then how you would expect a priest to be. How could people not be shocked by these two characters, I was myself.

    Why was the music for this movie not liked. I thought this was among the top five musical scores I have ever heard. The music perfectly gave you the feeling of the corruption and deception setting into the movie. It perfectly intertwined with the rest of the movie as the movie itself was ever growingly becoming more and more chaotic and surreal. Probably too shocking though.

    Paul Thomas Anderson I believe gave the best directing job of the year. He was able to show the oil fields and its processes, the rise of an oil man, the way everyone can be bought even a priest and the hope that H.W. represented. This movie was never boring and it was as stunning of a directing job as Daniel Day Lewis gave as a performance for his role in this movie. The intensity of this movie was as high as a movie could possibly be and some of the credit for this has to go to the director. The cinematography and the music seemed to intertwine perfectly like the rest of the movie. It gave the sense of the time period and as said before the greed, deception, etc. The cinematography did not just give you a negative feeling but a feeling as if what you are watching is real.

    You should not like this movie just because of the great technical achievements as you should not for any movie but for what it says and how it says it. I'm not even sure if you should enjoy this movie in general but you should not be blinded by your opinions. I applaud you whoever out there who can somewhat understand this movie and get past the lying and deceiving we do to ourselves. This movie really shows the humanity of human beings. Why is this rated-R?It has so many intense scenes that if you get inside this movie it is truly haunting. Now maybe this movie was too powerful for many people, it was probably even shocking for realists. Maybe though its not that surprising that so many people don't like this movie because the truth hurts. Not the truth about corruption or about people but the truth about ourselves.
  • The year I was born was the same year Predator and Robocop came out. When I was finally old enough to appreciate films, Little Nicky was in theaters. I know, believe me, I know; rocky start. And often I would watch older films, or specials on older films, and be dazzled. You know the ones. Remember when they made Spartacus? Remember sitting in the movies and watching Gregory Peck play Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird? Remember the first time you heard "I could've been a contender" through theater speakers? Well I sure as hell don't. But I'll tell you what, now I feel somewhat caught up. Let's begin with the obvious. Daniel Day Lewis. No one's arguing about this. The man is a veritable God among ants on the screen. He takes his role by the reigns and I don't doubt him for a second. In fact, at times, I was downright afraid of the man. Lewis gives what is easily, EASILY the best performance of the past five years. But let's get serious about it. Lewis' Daniel Plainview is the most convincing, awe-inspiring, and downright mortifying character to take the big screen that I can remember. Here, perfectly in his element and at his best, Lewis could go toe to toe with Brando and Kinski, playing a part that oozes enough skill and pathos to earn him a place among Hollywood's, and perhaps the world's, greatest performances of all time. He gives those of us who missed out on the craft, depth of character, and technique of classic cinema a chance to admire a tour de force portrayal of a memorable, identifiable, and completely despicable character, and it's so damned refreshing that I can't stop singing the man's praises. Paul Dano has been taking a lot of fire for this whole thing. People continue to spout their disapproval of the film's casting, saying that Dano has no business rivaling the seasoned Lewis on the screen. Listen, lay down your swords a minute and consider the obvious. The guy was cast opposite the performance of the decade, he's not going to outshine Lewis and you'd be crazy to expect him to. In fact, I think that he and Lewis' back-and-forths are the films highlights, as we see the juxtaposition not only in the characters themselves, but also in their acting techniques. And the cinematography? Welcome to the old days of film. The glory days of Hollywood. Anderson gives us one of the most beautifully shot and directed films in recent memory, truly at the top of his craft on this one. Every moment feels more epic than the last, until the film becomes such a towering cinematic spectacle that the end leaves the viewer exhausted. It's truly an experience not to be missed. Yeah, we missed out on A Street Car Named Desire. And Casablanca isn't gonna be in theaters again any time soon. But in the meantime, There Will Be Blood is just about as good, and will likely haunt our generation as much as the Hollywood studio epics of the past...
  • murtaza_mma29 September 2009
    Warning: Spoilers
    The world of cinema has seen and marveled a plethora of phenomenal performers, who over the years have entranced billions of viewers globally with their guile, grandeur, subtlety, eloquence and idiosyncrasy, but I dare say that none of their performances can match Daniel Day-Lewis' portrayal of Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood, for sheer ruthlessness, panache, eloquence and cheek. Being the chameleon that he truly is, Daniel Day-Lewis incredibly musters up all his prodigious talent as an actor to conjure up his misanthropic alter ego, Daniel Plainview, whose perpetually smirked face bolstered by his malice filled eyes makes him one of the strongest and the most fascinating characters ever caricatured on the silver screen. Daniel Day-Lewis is at the top of his game and virtually unstoppable as Daniel Plainview, a portrayal that not only resuscitated him as an actor, but also established him as someone who wouldn't leave a single stone unturned to bring his character to life and perhaps it is this very attribute that has helped him in his endeavor to be the absolute best at what he does.

    Paul Dano is absolutely brilliant as Eli Sunday and has complimented Daniel Day-Lewis in every sense of the word in spite of the fact that he barely had a week to prepare contrary to Daniel Day-Lewis, who had a whole year to prepare. Eli Sunday is ambitious, enigmatic, placid, pesky and pusillanimous and despite being highly contrasting to Daniel Plainview, ironically has many similarities to him, especially the uncanny demeanor that helped them both to inveigle others. It is the chemistry and the ever growing tension between them that makes the movie haunting and spectacular.

    There Will Be Blood is a morbid tale of greed, betrayal and obsession adorned by some great performances, visually stunning cinematography and masterful direction. Plainview owns a mine with potential silver deposits and his assiduity finally pays off when he discovers a silver ore. He sells it to acquire a crew to help him with the subsequent diggings in the mine. After the mine runs out of silver, oil is discovered in it and hence begins Plainview's journey of insatiable greed and morbid obsession. In order to acquire more oilfields and to strike out further deals easily, he adopts a young boy and names him as H.W. to help build a facade of a benevolent family man for himself. It almost takes him a decade to establish himself as a minor oilman, but this moderate success further intensifies his avarice. Subsequently, a young man named Paul Sunday (Paul Dano) visits Plainview's camp and offers to sell information about his family's ranch, which he claims to have an ocean of oil underneath it. Plainview and H.W. travel to the Sunday Ranch pretending to be on quail hunting while hiding their ulterior motive of verifying Paul's claim. Being as perspicacious as he was, it didn't take him long to find the vestiges of oil in the cracks formed due to the recent earthquake. He tries to inveigle the Sunday patriarch (who almost cried with rapture on hearing the offer) to sell him the land at a moderate price (which he calls quail price and not oil price), but is stymied by owner's ambitious son, Eli Sunday (also played by Paul Dano), who asks him to pay an additional ten thousand dollars towards the building of the Church of Third Revelation. Plainview reluctantly pays him five thousand dollars as advance and promises to pay the remaining amount once the drilling starts. Plainview assembles his crew at the Sunday Ranch and builds the first derrick. He also buys almost all of the land surrounding the Sunday Ranch so he will have not only those drilling rights but also the right to build a pipeline to the ocean to circumvent the railroads and their shipping costs. Eli wants to bless the derrick before drilling begins but Plainview rebuffs him. Using the money given by Plainview, Eli builds his church projecting himself as a preacher, faith healer and prophet. Soon the church has many followers, most of whom are Plainview's workers. Eli's increasing influence on the people and his display of false divinity starts pestering Plainview, who is further flummoxed by congregation's frequent gatherings (the daily prayers prevented the workers from taking desired rest, thereby decreasing their efficiency). Plainview beseeches Eli to make them less frequent, but Eli dismisses him with disdain. Plainview's ruthless ego is badly jolted by Eli's stubbornness and he brutally assaults him and even threatens to kill him when Eli asks him for the remaining money. Eli returns home all covered with mud after Plainview's assault and takes out his frustration on his myopic father, blaming him for acquiescing to Plainview's naked ambition. H.W. is deafened during an oil rig incident and starts behaving as a brat. Disconcerted by the change in the mannerisms of his son, he sends him away. Eli soon gets his revenge when a fellow named Bandy forces Plainview to get baptized at the Church of the Third Revelation (as a penance for a murder that Plainview committed and of which only Bandy knew). While baptizing him, Eli humiliates him by repeatedly slapping him and calling him a sinner for abandoning his hapless child. This incident further intensifies the hatred in Plainview and sets the tone for a deeply haunting finale when they meet many years later.

    P.T Anderson once again proves his mettle as a director and manages to pack a punch with this poignant and a deeply disturbing masterpiece. The movie incredibly succeeds on every level and entertains immensely, while still delivering a strong message. It was undoubtedly the best picture of 2007 and one of the best of the decade. In fact, it was very remiss of the academy to keep up with its long earned notoriety and prefer a relatively mediocre 'No Country for Old Man' over this truly haunting masterpiece.

    P.S. 10/10
  • PT Anderson's name already means something, or I should say something else. His self assuredness alone gives me shivers. A modern artist with such clear and severe vision of the world. Boogie Nights, Magnolia, even Punch Drunk Love have an Wellesian disregard for what's in or out. His films are landmarks that may infuriate some, confuse others and mesmerize the rest of us. Here, with the rigorous tale of an impervious oil man, PT Anderson outdoes himself. He has Daniel Day Lewis as his accomplice in a performance that would be as difficult to match as it is difficult to describe. There is a monstrous beauty here that not even a broken nose can disguise. The saga is filled with long silent moments of tension that take place in a cinematic canvas and an actor's head. PT Anderson must have known that this was going to be, not only not a mainstream opus but a hard pill to swallow. I for one stand up to applaud his daringness.
  • There Will Be Blood. Chilling, Sublime, perfect.

    First I must say the Soundtrack is amazingly disturbing and sets the tone of the film from the first scene. Many forget the amount of mood that sound sets.

    The film held me enraptured from first to last second.

    The story is perfectly displayed. Ever thing is laid out before the viewer in an intentional pace.

    The film is for viewers with imagination and foresight who can see through the shams of modern movie plot and into the realm of literature.

    The acting is simply stunning. Daniel Day Lewis can portray lines with a single expression and does in this film.

    I'm sure many will not enjoy this movie and all I have to say to them is go watch Transformers 2 again.
  • tranquilbuddha27 December 2007
    This film raises the game for everyone out there. I have loved all of Paul Thomas Anderson's work, including his greatly underrated Punch-Drunk Love, but this is a huge leap from any of the previous movies into a realm, as others have said, inhabited by classics such as Treasure of the Sierra Madre - and then some. Every element of this film is astonishing, from the opening twenty minutes, which feature virtually no dialog, to Jonny Greenwood's score, which I have heard criticized as too imposing but which seems just about perfect to me (and brings to mind the non-Blue Danube elements of 2001 at its most experimental). Daniel Day-Lewis' performance is in a league of its own: his voice, his mannerisms, his physical movement, his stunted emotions, are flesh and blood, and hauntingly so, in a way that even Tommy Lee Jones in In The Valley of Elah (which I thought was a pretty staggering performance) can't quite attain. I will watch this film again and again simply to see something so raw and so moving and so gut-wrenching. This is why I love movies; this is what made me want to make movies when I was fourteen years old.
  • PT Anderson delivers perhaps his best work with "There Will Be Blood". Unlike "Magnolia", the film's daunting runtime is not very daunting whilst watching it. All acting in the film was solid, even the work of the child actors. Daniel Day-Lewis in particular delivered a truly phenomenal performance, capturing the power of greed, fear, insanity, and comedy simultaneously, at many points throughout the film. At no point does the time period distract from the power of the film. Sometimes period pieces cannot be appreciated because they delve too deep into historical details -- turning the experience into more of a documentary than a narrative set in the past. This is not the case for "There Will Be Blood", as human interactions are the focus of the film. Johnny Greenwood's chilling score is very strong, benefiting from the elegant minimalism that he show's in the band Radiohead. The cinematography is also spectacular. Robert Elswit beautifully captures the essence of the environment and the tension amongst the characters. All in all, this is truly a perfectly crafted film.
  • pacific-oconnor16 February 2008
    Who is Paul Thomas Anderson? There is something about him that does't belong to this earth. That could be a compliment or not, it's all up to us. That's what make his cinema so damn unique. At the end of the day it's all up to us. But the abrasive way in which he visits universes and throws his views to us is so powerful, so arrogant, so enthralling, so infuriating that the experience leaves you baffled and suspicious. but also enchanted, transformed. Here, Daniel's saga could very well be the saga of a Hollywood maverick. So little time for sentimentality. Daniel Day Lewis seems to understand it all and he adds his unmistakable humanity to another monster, after his butcher in Gangs Of New York. His performance goes beyond anything we've seen recently anywhere. From Upton Sinclair to Paul Thomas Anderson via Daniel Day Lewis an unmissable work of art.
  • What is evil? What is hate? How low can an individual go with one's actions and still be considered human....? These, quite possibly, are the biggest questions raised in There Will Be Blood.

    Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Day-Lewis, the tycoons at the helm of this dig for moral oil, tell a story that takes the archetypal anti-heroes of 'Citizen Kane' and Travis Bickle of 'Taxi Driver' to a whole new, 21st-century level. The film, using Lewis's character Daniel Plainview, walks through incredibly dangerous cinematic territory that questions religion, plays with the nature of greed and hate and evil, and with it all, draws terrifying parallels to the world we live in today. The film and its main character claw so deep through the limits of humanity and the landscape of hell, that you'll be thanking the Good Lord for the silver screen that divides you from this horrible world Paul Thomas Anderson has portrayed. But despite how safe you may seem in your cushy seat, you will undoubtedly walk out of the theater with all kinds of new demons and ghosts buzzing in your head and ripping away at your subconscious. In this way, Anderson has abandoned his primary previous influence of Robert Altman to take more of a Stanley Kubrick direction, creating moral allegories that creep into your psyche and don't ever leave. You should be scared. Very Scared.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A few months ago I saw the trailer to There Will Be Blood, at first I was a little put off, it looked very strange and a typical drawn out drama. But then a little later, I saw a different trailer that was much better and looked more interesting. So now it had all this hype and is now nominated for 7 Oscars, including best picture, finally it came to theaters in my home town and my mom and I just saw it. Now, I'm just going to get a complaint out, I think this movie was still a little drawn out, it kind of took on a Kubrick type of feel with the first twenty minutes that had no dialog. But that was the only thing that threw me off. While I'm not as in love with this movie as much as everyone else is, There Will be Blood is going to be a sure classic down the line. The direction, the acting, the script, the sets, everything about this film was done beautifully and shows the utter greed and madness that can turn men into monsters.

    Daniel Plainview is an oil man, he's in the business with his son, H.W., and he goes around buying land very cheaply, and makes thousands and thousands of dollars when he strikes oil. But when he comes a town called Little Boston led by the tip of a boy named Paul, he buys the land promising the church that he will donate five thousand dollars to it. Eli, the leader of the church, claims he is a prophet and goes to the extreme to prove so with his followers. When Daniel's team is draining oil, his son is blasted away from an explosion of oil and looses his hearing, Daniel at this point just goes mad and meets a man who claims to be his brother, but he later finds out that this man lied to him. He abandons his son and is loosing all sanity, but when the church comes back to him, he claims he is saved. Years later though, he goes from business man to monster and is going to "drink Eli's milk shake", you'll see what I mean when you see the film.

    There Will Be Blood is a film of utter perfection, the reason why I'm rating it so high is because it is a perfectly made film. There's nothing wrong with it, when I said it's a little drawn out, it's just my opinion. But Daniel Day Lewis pulls in a flawless performance and became Daniel Plainview, especially the end, he pulled in such a chilling side and didn't over do the dialog, which I'm sure any other actor would have done. But one performance I am particularly impressed with is Paul Dano's as Eli/Paul, Eli really got to me and was incredible during his sermons, he held his own up to Lewis. He's come a long way since the silent rebel in Litte Miss Sunshine. There Will Be Blood is a GOOD movie, I mean good in the highest regards, because how many of us can say when a film is just utterly good? Not too often. There Will Be Blood is going to be a good contender this year for the Oscars, but we'll just have to see who'll take the best picture award, because we have some good films that are competing.

    10/10
  • Red_Blue_Green12 December 2007
    10/10
    Wow
    If Daniel Day-Lewis doesn't win an Oscar for this performance, there is something horribly wrong. His performance and this film were amazing. I don't give this kind of accolade out generously. I was at the screening at the Chelsea West. We waited outside in the cold and rain for a good two hours to get in there and get some good seats and I can honestly say, I would have waited double that amount of time. Enough of my rambling though. In regards to the film itself; it was very well done. The cinematography was amazing as well as the set design. As usual, PTA gives us a flawless script with terrifying, humorous, and compelling dialogue. All of the acting was spot on. Paul Dano played the role of a two-faced, maniacal, and power hungry preacher. The young man who plays H.W. Plainview was also very solid. As PTA stated during the Q&A last night, he seemed to know everything about the story and his character and seemed to be a natural. Daniel Day-Lewis. Need I say more? He was breathtaking in TWBB. Amazing is all i can say. You will need to see the film to see for yourself. Some may become bored with the film at times, which is what i gathered from the people sitting around me. I had no problem with the "slow" scenes, but the general public may have a problem grasping this film. If anything, this will be the reason if it gets snubbed at the Oscars.
  • exhilarating, suspenseful, chilling and beautiful.

    i heard once that the reason people stand whenever the 'hallelujah chorus' is performed is because it was first performed for a king, and he was so moved by it, he simply stood up during the song. this movie is just like that.

    i'm happy to be alive and at an age where i can appreciate this sort of thing now, because 50 years from now, people will surely say, 'i wonder what it was like to see that movie in theaters when it had just been released.'

    when i say, 'you should go see this movie,' i don't mean it's really entertaining, a good way to spend a Saturday night, worth the price of admission or what have you. i mean it in the way that i think everyone should see the sistine chapel, read hemingway, listen to beethoven's 9th symphony and so on. it will certainly be remembered for generations to come as an important work of art.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    With all of the hype surrounding Daniel Day-Lewis' performance (he was, in fact, given a Best Actor nod from the San Diego Film Critics Society, for whatever that is worth) in the P.T. Anderson-directed tale of early American oil speculation, "There Will Be Blood," I can only relate my extreme disappointment.

    This would have made an interesting 90-minute movie, but, unfortunately, it runs over 140-minutes, most of which is smeared with plasma and petroleum to the extent every character is sullied and unrecognizable as a human being.

    Perhaps Anderson wanted it that way, after all, it's really only Day-Lewis¹ character (the lubricious Daniel Plainview) that even comes close to developing; the others are simply there to keep him company and accept his violent tirades.

    Yes, times were tough in the early hardscrabble years of the American West, but this guy makes Jonas Cord ("The Carpetbaggers") look like Mother Theresa.

    We first meet Plainview in 1898 mining for silver in Arizona. After a nasty fall in which he breaks his ankle, he discovers oil in the shaft. After a few years, he has a crew and a few successful wells.

    One day, a fellow worker ­ there with his infant son (for some reason) ­is killed and Plainview adopts the boy, H. W. (Dillion Freasier) for no other reason than to have a cute face to show while he cons the public (see "Paper Moon").

    These are some of the movie's best scenes, with Plainview - and H.W. in tow - visiting backwoods bergs and convincing a gullible populace into signing away land rights for a fraction of what they were worth. Plainview, with a sinister soft-spoken demeanor plays psychological games until the rubes are all but ready to GIVE him the oil rights in perpetuity.

    Several years later, a visitor tells Plainview about a ranch in California that is soaking in oil, so Pop and son head out there, under the pretense of hunting quail. There they meet the Sunday family, addled dad, Abel (David Willis), a few non-descript females and an Evangelist son, Eli (Paul Dano, "Little Miss Sunshine").

    Plainview and Eli do not hit it off at all, and this is the conflict that sets up the second act. It doesn't take much to finagle Abel out of the Sunday Ranch, as well as the surrounding property, but several tragedies cause many in the town ­ especially the young preacher ­ to wonder if they made the right move in letting Plainview into their midst.

    When H.W. is rendered deaf in an explosion and disastrous fire, we wonder if the whole enterprise is worth it.

    Up until this point, I was willing to go along with this film as not only a historical drama relating the days of the early oil industry, as well as a chronicle of rural religious fervor, sort of "Oklahoma Crude" meets "The Apostle."

    The problem is, the picture does not continue to walk that thin line. We are now subjected to scene after scene of Plainview¹s descent into madness and murder ­ but with little or no motivation for either.

    For example, he beats Eli severely and mocks his church; meets a man who claims he¹s his brother; abandons H.W. and generally spirals out of control.

    He's business savvy, however, and plans to build a pipeline to transport his vast oil reserves to the coast (thus eliminating the cost of railroad shipping). To do this, though, he has to build through a local hermit's (Hans Howes, "Seabiscuit") land.

    The only way to accomplish this is to humble himself before Eli and the congregation and be baptized, obviously a fate worse than death to Plainview who seems to have no morals, whatsoever.

    Now that he¹s joined the church and gotten his pipeline built, does he enjoy even one iota of his success? Absolutely not.

    In one of Day-Lewis' many monologues, he gives us his motivation for being such a bastard, "I do not just want to succeed, I do not want anyone else to succeed."

    Still, that does not explain his psychotic, murderous frenzy, and the longer the film goes on, the less cohesive it became.

    I can accept his tirades early on, and even a bit of his unmotivated violence near the middle of the film, but Anderson pushes things to the extreme limit. He's even admitted that he watched "Treasure of the Sierra Madre" before beginning to film "Blood" - yet he still did not learn anything about coherent film-making.

    Friends, this is by far one of the most depressing and oppressive films of the year. In fact, it makes "No Country For Old Men" look like "Mary Poppins."

    Then, at the conclusion, after watching more than two-plus hours of this evil, hateful man succeed over and over again, we're treated to another brutal, pointless murder -­ this one coming out of nowhere.

    Like "The Last King of Scotland," in which Forrest Whittaker won the Best Actor award, this is another performance-driven, but deeply-flawed motion picture.

    Day-Lewis will certainly be nominated for this, and he may actually win, but that does not mean one will enjoy the experience of watching that performance.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    There Will Be Blood is a story about greed, religion and vengeance due to the discovery of one of nature's riches: OIL!

    Daniel Plainview(Daniel Day-Lewis) is a poor silver miner who is injured and taken in by a few men digging for oil. When one of them dies in a freak accident, Daniel brings up the man's son as his own and becomes a self-made oil tycoon in the process. After receiving a tip-off that a seemingly impoverished town out west has a whole ocean of oil beneath the surface, Plainview rushes there and stops at nothing to get what he wants. Even if it means losing all the things most important to him, especially his SANITY.

    It was written for the screen and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, who also directed Boogie Nights and Punch-Drunk Love. This is definitely a far better than the two. He should get a Best Director Nod for his work. The music is unlike anything ever I've ever heard, and it completely drew me into the haunting mood of the movie.

    The movie will get a lot of Oscar Nominations, hopefully Best Picture but most importantly:Best Actor. Daniel Day-Lewis is arguably the most talented living actor and his performance here clinches that title in my opinion. At first, you see how Plainview goes from being an extremely charismatic individual to a dark, insane and vicious oilman. Day-Lewis perfects all of these characteristics to a T and no other performance this year is even in the same league as this one.

    The movie is about 2 hours and 40 minutes long but it certainly didn't feel like it when I watched it. Actually, I would've been happier if the movie was 3 1/2 hours. It was that good. I was simply enthralled by this work of art. It is the best movie of the year with the best performance of the year.
  • "I'm an oil man!" Asserts Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) to a colony of naïve citizens of which he is astutely slipping into his trouser pocket one by one. However (in this case) the man speaks no lie for his veins do indeed run rich with plutonium oil. A crude, black substance embedded deep in the merciless heart of director Paul Thomas Anderson's gargantuan North American epic- There Will Be Blood. A perpetually steady, emotionally-draining and dark character study of an oil guzzling tycoon that vigorously chews on the themes of gluttony and deception, faith and ambition, death and revulsion. Do not be mislead by its title, though. This is not some balls-to-the-wall slasher-flick (as the "chavs" sat behind me seemed to think at the outset). It is a gruelling, drawn-out dissection of a loathsome yet sinisterly-comical individual consumed and maddened by his own persona. And it's absolutely formidable- visual and melodramatic arrestment at its bona fide best that exudes cinematic precision and awe with satire to spare. But it's also a long-winded affair. So thrill seeking, gore-craving moviegoers walk away, now. I'm afraid there will be no blood for you. Sorry. Add to that list- chic-flick, rom-com and sci-fi enthusiasts. You guys may be better off buying another ticket. Taking another ride. Those left, steady yourself for, perhaps, this year's most thought-provoking feature driven by a leading character performance fit to rival the very best.

    Ushering in a near dialogue-free opening 15 minutes with a distinct fade-in, Anderson wastes no time in introducing us to the protagonist. Daniel Day-Lewis plays…no scratch that…Daniel Day-Lewis is Daniel Plainview. An ambitious, moustached miner who, while thrashing away at the crust of his motherland- at the turn of the twentieth century- strikes oil. A profitable discovery that fortuitously leads him to H.W (Dillon Freasier), a new-born infant of whom he slots forcefully under his oil sodden wing only to drag about the entire continent in search of large segments of land in which crude oil is stirring directly beneath. Soon enough, Plainview forges a blossoming "family" oil drilling corporation that soon establishes itself as a force in the industry and prospects appear even brighter when, in 1911, Plainview receives a generously eerie, yet pricey tip-off as to where there may be a sturdy supply of his beloved oil. A tip-off in which he pursues like a unwavering moth to an oil fuelled flame as he meanders ominously into Little Boston, California where the true colours of the indomitable oil baron edge disturbingly into light.

    Daniel Plainview is an angry, vengeful man whose promises and loyalties to those around him are as false and as futile as his love and respect for God. He "guarantees" the people of the Little Boston ranch; food, water, schools and, to the town's radically odd preacher Eli Sunday (an inspired Paul Dano), a newly renovated church of the Third Revelation. But he cares little for the reserving of his pledges and spends little time guilt-tripping over his numerous acts of iniquity. "I look at people," he says "and I see nothing worth liking." "I have a competition in me," he continues "and I want no one else to succeed". Self-centred sociopath?…Yep, for Plainview is as putrid and as predatory as any character to ever grace the big screen. He putrefies slowly, though. The end product appearing more entity than man. Better yet: an egocentric emblem of evil that governs the screen in an implausible manner in which only an actor of Day-Lewis' calibre can. The sheer potency of his flawless portrayal actually carries the relatively toothless narrative in areas which could be further criticised for chugging along at a near crawling pace at times.

    Visually and acoustically, though, TWBB is outstanding- every nuance of every aural and cinematic component work so well with one another to help give the film such power and impact. It's just a shame that no real direction or purpose bled into the screenplay for which Anderson adapted from Upton Sinclair's 1927 novel- Oil. As far as storytelling goes, Anderson has underperformed here. His narrative lacks any legitimate path or hooks and, to be honest, the lack of defining moments- bar the infamous confession and milkshake scenes- within 158 minute running length is a little disappointing. But the manner in which Day-Lewis dictates the audiences' attention more or less vanquishes any negative thoughts regarding the muscle of the plot. Which is why it comes as no surprise that everybody and their brother have duly commended the London-born method actor's impeccable, Oscar winning performance: the epitome of everything grand about Anderson's fifth but not quite finest feature yet; profound, provoking, intense, immense.

    In spite of its flaws, TWBB is still an exceptionally powerful piece of cinema that'll remain etched in the minds of those who take to it for quite some time. Even if it's quality is not there for all to see, in plain view.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Just so you know where I'm coming from... I think Magnolia is one of the most overrated films I've ever seen. But this... This is a damn Kubrick-level masterpiece. Flawless. Saw it from a folding chair in a overflowing theater at the Alamo's Fantastic Fest in Austin - there were moments where I'd look back and see every jaw in the room dropped. Its less overtly political than I imagined - more about the psychology and emptiness of the lust for power. See this as soon as it comes out - this is going to cause a ruckus (especially coming out on Christmas, Jesus!), and its much better if you don't know what to expect. Except for blood.
  • djed7185 November 2007
    just got back from an early screening here in san francisco and thought i'd just lay down a few lines. Mr. Anderson was in attendance but did'nt really comment on the film, I would have liked to hear what he had to say, as I have not been so knocked over the head by an American film in so many years. He was humble in his introduction and let the movie speak for itself. It is a near perfect stew of direction, cinematography, score and last but not least, acting. Daniel Day Lewis is absolutely mesmerizing, Paul Dano made me squirm as the wretched young priest. oh my god, i have chills just thinking about both of these performances. they stay with you. a lot of the film reminded me of Terrence malick, though it did'nt emulate him. just a nice reminder. i think i'll watch days of heaven now. i wish there were more films like this coming out of the states, let's keep our fingers crossed.
  • There Will Be Blood – 9.8/10

    Director: Paul Thomas Anderson

    Writer: Paul Thomas Anderson

    Ground-breaking, disturbing, distraught,frightening, unnerving, intimidating, and in every sense of the word –'a masterpiece'. There Will Be Blood is a character sketch so strong,so complex, that it might take an individual a lifetime of trials and tribulations to comprehend the forces of human nature at work.

    The film is dark and desolate, like much of Upton Sinclair's works, on whose book 'Oil' the film is loosely based on. Paul Thomas Anderson's (Magnolia) vision to convert this nature study of capitalism into a stunning film, revolving around an oil baron and a pastor has yielded starkly contrasting reactions. While audiences at large have not taken to the film particularly well, most critics unanimously agreed it was Anderson's best. Daniel Day-Lewis (Daniel Plainview), who plays the role of the oil prospector, has etched a new character in the history of world cinema and Paul Dano (Paul Sunday/Eli Sunday) who became a part of the film after the shooting started has played Day-Lewis' antagonist with perfection.

    Anderson researched this film with all sincerity and it shows. Day-Lewis spend days understanding the character he was playing, to an extent that the actor who Paul Dano replaced alleged he was intimidated by Daniel's character, off-screen as well! The cinematography of the film is simple brilliance, and rightly earned Robert Elswit, Anderson's companion from Magnolia, an Oscar for best cinematography. While the music of the film did not earn much appreciation, I thought it perfectly complemented the film. In several instances, the music lays bare Day-Lewis' emotions, especially in the instance post the accident, when he has a conversation with his son HW, played by Dillion Freasier.

    The film had a very strong script. This is almost true of all films made from successful and well written novels. But Day-Lewis has gone a step forward and owned the character. He commands every iota of attention in the film and for the first twenty minutes, where there is no dialogue, Lewis proceeds to build and delineate a character which will ultimately define what the film will be. I am not sure if I have seen a better character sketch in a film, a character so powerful, that it leaves one disturbed when the credits role in. What has amazed me is the magnitude with which the audience and critics alike have misunderstood the character narrative of the film.

    Lewis' character has largely been interpreted as a heartless, cruel, capitalist for who even his adopted son is just a tool to achieve power and success. I believe this widespread misinterpretation is due to a shallow approach that capitalists are greedy and will stop at nothing to achieve their goals. The character of the film is so complex, that I am not sure if there is enough space and time, and ability to explain the nuances and explore the depths. But I will make a brief attempt to do so.

    Lewis' character is shown to be highly competitive. A man who trusts no one and loves nothing; he is lonely and believes there is no need to understand people as it would be a futile pursuit beyond that what is obvious. But he is not a man driven by pure greed, nor is he blinded by wealth and affluence as many viewers have believed. His relation with his son, and his inability to chart the course of his son's life, reveal his softer side while throwing light on his own superiority, godlessness and a form of megalomania. His character is extremely rational, but his hatred for everything that competes with him ultimately leads to his destruction. Not only is he aware of this (the last dialogue of the film tells us this), we see several moments where his loneliness breaks him; but the fundamental purpose of a human being shedding tears is undermined if there is no one to wipe them. He rises spiteful, harsher and harder after each trial, like a rock hardened by the incessant heat of a volcano. He seeks some solace, something to hold on to. Any trace of familial blood (There WILL Be BLOOD) which he can create by the virtue of his will or by the hand of destiny, he shall accept. The complexities of his character are so profound, that they only reveal themselves in small and quick passing dialogues and one has to live the character to truly see through him.

    I dread to say there are common traits Daniel Plainview shares with all and everybody. We have either failed to realize it, even though our actions would speak, or we have managed to subvert, repress and bury them deep enough for acceptance in an unforgiving, conditional society. The film is like a streak of artistic lightening in a bleak sky. Whether this film speaks of perfection or not, we will never know, but one thing is certain, we will debate its mastery for years to come.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    First off, I'd like to say that I have enjoyed most all of PTA's films. I loved Boogie Nights, thought Magnolia was an ambitious, but not great picture, and thoroughly enjoyed Punch- Drunk Love. I, like many others have eagerly awaited Paul Thomas Anderson's latest film, There Will Be Blood. In fact, I drove almost 120 miles and waited 2-3 hours in line to see it, as that was the closest showing of it. I bought into all the hype, read almost every review, watched any and all interviews of it that I could, expecting a "masterpiece" as so many IMDBers put it. People even had the audacity to say it's one of the best films of the decade. Some big words and shoes for a film to fit.

    Nevertheless, after the wait, I found myself disappointed and terribly bored with this film. The movie's pacing and editing was SO slow and too long (nearly 3 hours), I felt that the editor should have had another much needed run in the cutting room. For instance, certain shots in a scene went on forever as the camera stays with a character for 5 min or more, never changing angles, creating a needlessly slow pace. There were many scenes with little to no dialog adding another dull layer. Now I appreciate films with silence that present cinematic art ( "3-Iron" and "Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...And Spring", two movies that are nearly all silence) yet here it granted the film unevenness. People are claiming this film had beautiful cinematography, yet I fail to see what was so unique. Perhaps the theater I was at had an inexperienced projectionist, bad print or something, but the shots, lighting, and composition were rather dull and the camera movements uninteresting. I mean how hard is it to shoot wide-angle barren landscapes and campfire scenes and follow actors with steadicam/tracking scenes? Although this wasn't a stylized movie, rather an attempt to take you into the 19th century, I thought the cinematography was mediocre at best. I've seen better work from Robert Elswit and other DPs.

    Worse than mediocre however, is the music/soundtrack, which was so obnoxious and used out of place, that it just may have worsened the viewing experience. The horror-like, intense and unnerving score that was mixed way too loud in the soundtrack, doesn't even seem to match the images or the story. The music isn't "bad", but it does not fit well. The music, which attempted to create tension among the characters exemplifying greed and corruption, seemed extremely forced and vexing. Here is this rather slowly cut/paced movie displaying an ugly landscape or early America undeveloped showcasing a man being SLOWLY corrupted, scored side-by-side with this imposing, experimental, enormous, horror-like score that was woefully out of sync with the film and apparently wanted to call attention to itself, not assist the story.

    Acting... Well, although there is praise left and right for Daniel Day Lewis and Paul Dano, I felt both performances were lackluster, Paul Dano's being much worse. There were many times that I felt like Dano was just reading from a script and not embodying the character, for instance, the first time we are introduced to him, his lines are weak and artificial with strange speech pauses and insipid facial expressions. DDL was also nothing special. His accent was, well... certainly not mind-blowing, and didn't make me think of anything uniquely "American" as that was what he was supposedly trying to portray. In many scenes he was overacting and Dano was underacting, or vice versa. I couldn't get into the two personality types as they were undeveloped. Although the audience is supposed to dislike DD Lewis, I didn't care for any of the characters and completely lost interest in the film about 40 min to an hour into it. DD Lewis is a great actor and that may be an understatement, but he certainly did not shine in this picture. Yet at the same time, he may have been the only redeemable thing in this movie.

    I can only assume that since PTA is known for giving minimal direction and following his scripts closely (he has stated this during commentaries of his films) the acting was flawed and pulse nearly-dead, due to the weak script/adaptation. There were some major/minor holes in this film, but I didn't care. I was too bored, and couldn't care about any underlying tones of greed and religion since the characters neither really embodied either very well. Some characters appear, some disappear never to be seen again, certain scenes that were supposed to be climactic and intense came off as comedic (the audience I was with, laughed a great deal during these scenes) and I wondered if that was the way PT Anderson intended it, or it being the audience I sat with. I don't know. For example, during the final scene where DDL and Dano's "discussion" turns into a near fight, the scene comes off as if it were slapstick and had the audience busting out in laughs.

    In summary, this film was a major let down for me as I had high hopes for it, and was a fan of all of PTA's films. The film's execution, writing, and direction was empty and flawed, resulting in an uneven, and painfully boring film. I suppose there are different strokes for different folks, but the film really stinks.
  • jed_priv13 January 2008
    Warning: Spoilers
    I like Upton Sinclair and I like Daniel Day Lewis (DDL) (esp. impressed with Gangs of NY), but this movie is a flop in so many ways I can't recount them all here. Generally. it suffers from a deeply flawed screenplay and what I would presume to be the misdirection of DDLs considerable talent. In roughly 2.5 hours, the movie does almost nothing to either account for or reveal in any particularly interesting way the moral bankruptcy of Plainview. Insofar as DDL's performance is concerned, it is particularly overacted at the scene of his baptism, when his overt contempt for the proceeding could not be more apparent. While we can sympathize with his plight and laugh with his sarcastic murmurings, it is simply unbelievable that such a manipulative person in desperate need of the critical lease for his pipeline wouldn't at least fake the requisite sincerity, especially as we know the Plainview character is a capable performer and has a history of doing so. The 30 minute over-dramatized coda explains nothing and adds nothing and thus the movie's conclusion is abrupt and unsatisfying. We already knew that Plainview was brutish and that Eli Sunday was a fraud. Some better explanation for the distance between D Plainview and H.W. would have been welcome, but none was offered.

    A WEEK LATER: Everyone I speak with in NYC who has seen this movie agrees that it is weak and over-hyped. How is this rated the #28 best film ever made on IMDb, higher than Chinatown, Taxi Driver, M, Vertigo, The Third Man, Clockwork Orange, Raging Bull, Rashomon, etc... etc... ???? Are the voters here truly tasteless or just studio shills?

    TWO WEEKS THEREAFTER: With another 1000 votes in the tally, its clear that the IMDb audience thinks this is the 16th best film ever made -- which goes to show how very little great cinema they've seen. Despite their rating, the film is no better than The Treasure of Sierra Madre where Bogart essentially gives DDL lessons in how to play the miner succumbed to greed -- a performance for which he didn't even grab a best actor nomination! (Admittedly, TWBB is perhaps more "true to life," and benefits from incredible staging (sets and rigs) but I take this to be a function of the present climate where audiences are willing to accept an overt "indictment" of capitalist speculation as opposed to the more restrictive clime of 1948 in which the subject had to be reduced to a comedy.) Interestingly, I just read on wikipedia that "(The treasure of Sierra Madre) is director Paul Thomas Anderson's favorite film. In fact, he watched it every night before bed while writing his film There Will Be Blood"
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The idea that this film is one of the top 250 of all time (let alone top 25!) is preposterous. This is the first review I've submitted, and I do so because I feel compelled to express my outrage that a movie such as this could garner such a high rating, and may by itself destroy whatever credibility the "250" list may have retained.

    Count me in the "Emperor Has No Clothes" crowd. Look, I loved "Boogie Nights" as much as anyone. It was a masterpiece, a work of genius. Nostalgia for that film is the only reasonable explanation I can construct to understand why so many have rated "Blood" so highly.

    Daniel Day-Lewis gives a fine performance, yes, but what else is new? Though well-acted, I found his character simple and uninteresting. I am stunned by those who seem to regard Plainview as a new and terrifying character, a soulless messenger of a new evil (I chuckled when the goat-ranching rube whom Plainview aims to exploit introduces himself as "Abel")"No Country For Old Men" and J. Bardem covered that territory far more effectively. Plainview seemed like a pretty straightforward sociopath to me.

    Paul Dano, who I think is a fine actor, is terribly miscast as the evangelical preacher. He lacks the charisma and presence to credibly portray a charlatan. He was shrieky, and bizarre, not smooth, charming,confident, or anything else that suckers people into falling for scams. He was utterly unbelievable in his role, and it was too large a part to make such a mistake, set, as it was, against the furnace that is Daniel Day-lewis.

    Which leads me to the kid who played Plainview's adopted son for the greater part of the film. I am loath to criticize a child, but I can only assume this boy had the "look" as a prop desired by the director, b/c he displayed no ability as an actor. When called upon for dialog, his stilted performance is painful to behold. I cannot believe there wasn't another kid who could've hit his cues more effectively, more naturally.

    I actually found the ending one of the few interesting, thought provoking aspects of the film, but by then it was far too late to breathe life into the bloated behemoth that had strewn itself out on the screen the previous 2+ hours.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Hi. How's everybody doing? I just saw 'There Will Be Blood' last night. I don't like the idea of spending my whole life on the internet on message boards discussing trivial aspects of pop culture, but I felt compelled to issue a warning about this film. Critics seem to like it. Oscar nomination folks gave it a nod. Even more so, the pseudo-critic/'we derive personal validation of our innate human desire for creation and creativity by attaching ourselves to the works of others like leeches" folks really really liked it.

    This movie is not good.

    It may be compelling to a degree. The acting is fine. There isn't a story. Perhaps this lack of story is OK for the fact that regular life (at least based on my perspective created from my personal experiences) does not seem to have a nice little beginning/relevant conundrum/happy resolution format. I even applaud the director for trying to make a movie such as this and "stretch" our thinking. Its just that this movie failed at stretching anything other than my ability to believe people who review films and decide for us what is good.

    My warning is for those who haven't seen this movie. Please go to the theater with an open mind. Make up your own mind. Decide for yourself whether or not you like this movie. Come back home. Sit at your computer for 30 minutes if you have to and think about the movie for yourself. THEN and only then, decide what it is that you think. Write it on this website. Tell the world what YOU think.

    As a society, we have to get away from being sheep. If a movie makes an attempt at being art, then that is wonderful. If it fails, then that is fine. Good try. But, lets please not decide that something is good based on some sort of manufactured intellectualist solidarity. It hurts us all.

    For me, I hope someday that i get my 3 hours back.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I viewed No Country for Old Men twice and thought it was one of the best films I've ever seen. It was time to see another film so I read some of the reviews here on IMDb. There will be blood had nothing but great reviews and was getting awards and nominations like No Country for Old Men so I figured I had to see it. It wasn't available to see locally for a couple weeks and I unfortunately didn't check the reviews again before going to see it yesterday. I'm seeing bad reviews for this film now and I can understand after seeing the film.

    I didn't get into any of the spoilers so I didn't know what to expect. I only had a basic idea of what it was about.

    The film opens with a view of the plains which was nice to see. Then, out of nowhere, this horrible screeching violin tears into your head leaving you wondering "what the hell was that all about?". I figured it was setting something up for later in the film. The only purpose of that noise that I can figure is to give the film an eerie feel though it really only helped me to understand that this film wasn't put together properly.

    Early on, Daniel basically adopted the young son of one of his men that died on the job showing a caring side of him but not much else happened.

    I waited patiently for the film to progress and thought it was finally about to when Daniel commenced drilling on the land he purchased from the Sundays and the feud between Daniel and Eli started to develop. But, I saw their interactions as strange and misguided along with the plot at this point in the film.

    I had a hard time trying to figure out how religion worked it's way into the plot especially when bad things started happening at the drilling site after Eli didn't get to bless the drilling. I thought religion was going to take over a bit at that point and the drilling was essentially cursed and doomed. Nothing ever happened with it though leaving me wonder what the point of introducing religion into the film was.

    Daniel seemed to have good moments and bad moments at this point making me wonder if he was a good guy or a bad guy. He seems to care for HW after he hit his head but then runs off to see that the fire gets put out. He seems to console HW after losing his hearing but sends him off and goes about running his operation. I guess that people can have a good side and a bad side but it was strange seeing Daniel go back and forth being good and bad.

    The scene where Daniel gets baptized is the only entertaining and funny thing in the entire movie but it's sort of awkward seeing how religious the towns people are and how religion was introduced earlier on in the film. I wondered where they were going to take religion in the film next.

    Daniel goes off to see that the pipeline gets built and finds out that the man claiming to be his brother isn't actually his brother after negotiating the pipeline deal. He finds this out by going along with his "brothers" wishes to get drunk and get women to celebrate their pipeline deal. It seemed like Daniel wanted to see if his "brother" was going to show a greedy side to determine whether or not he was playing him for his money. His "brother" gets greedy asking for money for a prostitute and Daniel calls him on it finding out he was playing him all along. My problem with this is that anyone can have a desire to go get drunk and get women; including a real brother so I don't think this scene made any sense.

    Daniel comes back and brings HW back and strangely tries to go on with business as usual like nothing really happened. He's a good guy again for bringing HW back after the hard work is completed but is a bad guy again for ignoring to nurture HW and failing to learn sign language so they can communicate with each other.

    The film falls apart at the end when HW talks with Daniel and Daniel basically ignores and makes fun of him until HW mentions that he's starting his own oil company. Daniel goes off the deep end and pushes HW away in a very cruel way. The most ridiculous scene of the film is when Eli pays Daniel a visit out of nowhere asking for money. I had seen way more than enough up to this point and this scene left me hating myself for wasting my time and money to watch the film.

    I tried hard to understand the films direction and purpose but really couldn't with how sloppy it was. It was pretty much all about Daniel and that's certainly nothing that anyone wants to see. Why would I want to see a sloppy story about a greedy oil man and his messed up life? I just don't get it.

    Regarding the reviews, how could anyone possibly give this film a good review? You caused me to waste my time and money and I'm sure there are many more just like me.

    I will say that Daniel Day Lewis' performance was good given the circumstances. His character, Daniel Plainview, was a not so good in a horrible film.

    Go see No Country for Old Men if you want to see a good film. Hey, it doesn't even have music added to it and it certainly doesn't have a horrible screeching violin that tears into your head leaving you wondering "what the hell was that all about?".
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) is an ambitious, slimy oil tycoon who begins building up an empire in the southwest using his considerable charm, his adoptive son H.W. (Dillon Freasier/Russell Harvard), and ruthless business acumen. He descends on the town of Little Boston, California, building a huge oil derrick and enriching the town. He clashes with Eli Sunday (Paul Dano), the fanatical young preacher, develops a strained relationship with his son (who is deafened in an accident), and solidifies his empire - but at the same time begins to unravel as a person.

    "There Will Be Blood" has received mountains of acclaim, as one of the best films not only of the year, but of the decade - and by some, of all time. It's easy to see why, as the film has a great deal going for it: an interesting-on-paper story, impressive direction and cinematography, and most of all, an amazing performance by Daniel Day-Lewis. But at the heart of TWBB is an emptiness, which not even the greatest performance can assuage, and that is the character of Daniel Plainview.

    The film begins promisingly, with a brilliant fifteen-minute opening scene devoid of dialogue, as Plainview and his associates dig out their first oil well. The introduction to Plainview as a slippery, manipulative man is well-done, and the first two hours or so are gripping. I sat engrossed, comfortable in knowing that all of the build-up would lead somewhere great. Unfortunately, towards the end, I realized that the opposite was true; the film wasn't leading anywhere, and indeed my enjoyment of it largely ended with a painfully contrived and ridiculous anti-climax.

    The movie has a number of problems in narrative structure. It doesn't have much in the way of a traditional storyline. This is not inherently a bad thing, but the detached nature of the film makes it hard to care about what goes on. The only fully developed thread is the troubled relationship between Plainview and his son H.W., whom the former views as prop to manipulate his competitors and showcase his success. And even this is dropped like a potato at the end of the film. There is also the digressive nonsense of Plainview's "brother" (Kevin J. O'Conner) which adds nothing to the film.

    Another flaw is the movie's lack of context. Though it is set in the early 1900's - a turbulent time when the US government led by Theodore Roosevelt, William Taft, and Woodrow Wilson were tearing down business monopolies - there is no political or historical context beyond super-titles and a few brief mentions of Standard Oil. As the film was essentially a character study, I wasn't expecting an in-depth examination of politics and history, but a few illusions to the time period beyond "1911" flashing on the screen would have helped. The attacks on the hypocrisy of religion and big business are socialist primer material (unsurprising given the source is an Upton Sinclair novel) and bring nothing new to the table.

    The basic problem of the film is in its lead, Daniel Plainview. Not in Daniel Day-Lewis, mind you, who gives one of the greatest performances in recent memory, but in the character itself. Plainview would be an interesting supporting character or villain, a slimy, manipulative man who thoroughly hates everyone besides himself. But there really isn't any depth to Plainview, and thus the film has a hollow center. He doesn't develop over the course of the story; he remains the same character throughout, a bitter, greedy misanthrope, and after awhile he becomes little more than a caricature of an evil businessman.

    The main reason to see this film is Daniel Day-Lewis. While I wasn't particularly enamored of his turn as Bill the Butcher, Day-Lewis's amazing turn as Plainview almost overcomes the script's shortcomings. Day-Lewis is a fascinating premise, and the brilliance of his performance conversely accentuates the weakness of his character. If it were in aide of something better, Plainview would be the most memorable character in the last twenty years of cinema. As it stands, it's still a remarkable achievement, and if Day-Lewis doesn't win an Oscar there is no justice.

    Other than Day-Lewis, the cast is non-descript. Paul Dano has received acclaim for his performance as Eli Sunday, but the role requires little more than elementary ham acting. The film's climax in particular illustrate the weakness of his performance. There are a few names in the supporting cast (Ciaran Hinds, Kevin J. O'Connor), but they remain in the background throughout. Cinematography, music and direction by Paul Thomas Anderson are all fabulous, with memorable set-pieces such as the oil explosion and the aforementioned beginning stand-out, but they do little more than cover up the weakness at the heart of the film.

    "There Will Be Blood" looks like it should be a great film, but it is a deeply flawed movie with a weak central character. Nonetheless, it's worth a look, and if nothing else Day-Lewis should make it interesting.

    6/10
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Let's start with an understatement. Overstatements enough all around. This wont be the first you read about this film - this will be comment 124453. Unfortunately you probably spent some money, and more importantly, a good deal of time to see what's all the fuss about.

    Your reaction will be one of the three possible reactions to this film:

    1) Everyone thinks this is excellent! So I officially think this is excellent too! Especially since I am into art-house, I can not afford to call this boring piece of sh*t a boring piece of sh*t.. I will just give it a 10 on IMDb and next get something Spanish with tits in it to cheer me up.

    2) What's the fuss about?? This is a well done, well acted period piece that is worth my time if I would stumble upon it on a Wednesday night on TV.. It might make me go to bed late just to see where it goes. It has some freaky and unrealistic stuff in it (DDL stuffing the priests face with mud for no apparent reason? among others) but hey, they took the money and effort to re-enact the time period and set a slightly boring drama. 3 drops of blood will be involved in the very last scene. Ow sorry, spoilered anything there? :P The DDL that we knew from Gangs Of New York was asked to change nothing except costume and give it a go, gang leader and oil baron is basically the same ballpark anyway.

    3) The world has gone mad. DDL does an OK job, yeah alright, but does he save this little paper ship filled with heavy pretensions not to sink? No way! WTF is this film trying to tell us (me) ? It has NO character development AT ALL, which is pretty amazing for a piece that stretches over decades. Characters are defined from the beginning, and from there on static. Not exciting to watch them go around their unpleasant business for a few hours. (If they were even more unpleasant that might be the case, but it's all within limits, very decent middle-of-the-road unpleasantness) The few interesting bits are far apart, and exactly those are far-fetched. We have the "healing priest" guy, having those Texan (or what are they) farmers believe whatever he wants.. Farmers are usually the "wanna see first believe you then" type. Ah well I dunno, in Texas they might be like that :P But then the bit where DDL stuffs mud in the priests mouth for no reason at all! And slaps him around a bit! Interesting scene, maybe the best, but again.. WTF? There is no notion in the film that would explain this or whatever leads to it.

    And then we have the ending.. OK it IS nice, and well acted and all.. But it is f*cking ridiculous! I would welcome it in any film with a comical undertone.. But for this film that has been taken /taking itself so very serious, it makes no sense at all! DDL is victorious in the end, and confronts his longtime enemy with his victory.. and then instead of savouring it, he kills him off in (again) a mad unprovoked rage! well i can go on but i wont, bless you all :) i liked magnolia though.. that wasn't realistic, but didn't pretend to be either. and it managed to convey the sentiment it tried to.

    god i hope this will plummet some more in the ratings... but i am afraid that generations to come will check the IMDb top 250, see this scoring a 9, download it, and then decide that us "oldies" have no taste whatso-ever and just go get the newest pulp crap.

    thank you all pretentious farts for acting like you actually enjoyed this film. my children will benefit huge improvements in reaction speed for playing more games and watching less movies.
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