There Will Be Blood Review
November 22, 2012
Next in my incredibly belated Fan of the Month posts is Paul Thomas-Anderson's There Will Be Blood: Slick Nick from Pop Peeling's excellent recommendation.
Getting back on track with my Fan of the Month posts after falling hideously behind, Slick Nick (Fan of the Month for August) asked me to review one of his favourite films: Paul Thomas-Anderson’s There Will Be Blood. After getting it confused with No Country for Old Men time and time again, I thought it was high time for me to get around to watching it and reviewing it. Sceptical at first after it received such high critical acclaim (it’s 8.1 on IMDB and 91% on Rotten Tomatoes) and a seemingly endless list of accolades (nominated for six Oscars, won two; nominated for eight BAFTAs, won one to name but a few) I was worried it wouldn’t quite live up to the hype. Thankfully, I needn’t have worried.
Former miner turned oilman Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) is hardworking, focused and all about making money. Following a tip off from local farmer’s son Paul Sunday (Paul Dano), Plainview launches a campaign to convince small-town property owners that they should let him drill their land. Without him, they won’t have the equipment to access the profit they’re standing on. It’s thanks to this project that he builds his empire, and with it his obsession with power and paranoia that develops alongside it. Plainview meets his match in Paul’s twin brother, Eli (also Dano), a teenage preacher; as money tensions grow between them, showing the prospector to be the ruthless, unhinged business man he really is.
For Daniel Day-Lewis to win an Oscar for his portrayal of Plainview is the least the Academy could do. If a higher accolade existed; Day-Lewis would own it. I completely acknowledge that he’s brilliant in pretty much everything he touches, but There Will Be Blood is a whole different ball game. Charismatic yet frightfully villainous and brutal; I certainly wouldn’t want Plainview anywhere near my milkshake (finally, the origin of that infamous quote!).
A more than impressive follow up to the magnificent Magnolia (despite there being almost a decade between the two, it’s the only other of his films I’ve seen; this will change when I catch The Master next week); There Will Be Blood is easily one of the great American movies, fitting in comfortably amongst the classics. Not an easy watch, the violence and discomfort builds and builds to the horrifying crescendo which represents Plainview’s character perfectly.