There Will Be Blood - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

There Will Be Blood Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ February 19, 2008
Poor storytelling and virtually no character development. Arbitrary, episodic and confusing.

Yes - DDL is God and the cinematography and sense of place and time are uncanny but after a terrific opening hour this film just coughs and sputters.
Super Reviewer
February 17, 2008
God, what a heavy film. It's a disturbing and weird and fascinating character study that is just out there, but extremely compelling .Even though this is a brilliant masterpiece, parts of it feel a tad forced and hollow, but that's only a minor issue since the point of the film is characters and themes.

It's a character study about greed, ambition, family, ruthlessness, and insanity. This is more art than anything. As for the plot, well, it's kinda hard to nail down exactly, but, in broad strokes, it's about a ruthless oil prospector, and the clashes he has with a local preacher as he strives to strike it rich in California during the early days of the oil industry (late 1890s-late 1920s)

In a way, this is the kind of historical period piece I go nuts for. I dig the biopic approach, and the sweeping epics about wars, etc, but for some reason, I'm more fascinated by something like this which is both a character study, but also a history lesson on the fine arts of how to go about getting oil. There's extended sequences that show in detail how this is all done, and I'm absolutely captivated by it all.

This definitely isn't a film for everyone. For one, it's quite artsy. The first 14 and a half minutes have no dialogue, and serve as a great way to establish mood, tone, atmosphere, and the lengths our lead character will go to in order to succeed. And the final 15 minutes are an absolutely riveting and gut wrenching display of some of the greatest acting, dialogue, and confrontation I've ever seen. Even after repeated viewings, I still just blown away by how it all pans out. It's like a shotgun blast to the mind, body, and soul. It's also a quite lengthy film that's fairly leisurely with the pacing. Amazingly enough though, I really don't get that antsy while watching it, as I always find something to marvel over with each viewing.

Being a Paul Thomas Anderson film, this is a sprawling and absolutely gorgeous film to look at. Robert Elswit's cinematography is unmatched, and there's some excellent long takes/tracking shots to boot. The period details, likewise, are spot on, and the era truly comes alive. Though just slightly distracting, Johnny Greenwood's score is also quite compelling and fitting, really capturing the frantic nature of what's going on.

And then there's the acting. So much has already been said about it, so I'll just leave it at this: Daniel Day-Lewis is so phenomenal I kind of hate him, Not the character, since you're supposed to, but him. I'm so jealous of him, yet I would feel sad it he didn't exist. Watching him act is a dizzying, spellbinding, and mesmerizing experience. Paul Dano, while nowhere near the level of his costar, is also quite excellent. He's got a tough job here, but he pulls it off amazingly well.

My only legitimate gripe with the film is that Paul Dano plays a dual role- that of twins Paul and Eli Sunday. Problem with it is that Paul Sunday is an important role, but he's there for one scene, then disappears. Wouldn't be so big a deal if not for the fact that Dano plays both Paul and his twin Eli, and, after Paul Sunday's one scene, he disappears with no explanation. Dano was supposed to just play Paul, and that's it, but then Anderson recast him to also play Eli, and rewrote the script accordingly. I think he should have just had him play Eli, get someone else as Paul, and then retool what happens to Paul, or maybe just explain what happens to Paul anyway, and keep Dano in the dual role.

Even though that is a problem, that's the only real issue I can come up with. This film really is a brilliant masterpiece and one of the best/my favorite films of 2007. It's even close to being my favorite PTA film, and would be if not for my love of Boogie Nights.

Bottom line, this is a must see. So go and do it.
Super Reviewer
February 1, 2012
A true epic masterpiece.
Super Reviewer
January 18, 2008
My personal Opinion aside, it is an Epic masterpiece that is beautifully shot and ONCE again Daniel day Lewis is a rare breed of fantastic actors!

It is a slow paced movie that takes you through a maze of mentalness, I will have to re watch as i didnt follow the character very well and i feel im missing something!
Super Reviewer
July 29, 2010
No other film more aptly deserves the title of modern classic than this whirlwind historical drama. Director Paul Thomas Anderson absolutely left his comfort zone of the eccentric lives of Los Angelenos in order to make a film that takes place at the offset of the oil reign. Anderson writes and directs this film about the beginning of the oil boom in California at the beginning of the 20th century. Very loosely based on Upton Sinclair's novel "Oil!" and much more on historical figures and testimony from the Teapot Dome Scandal, Anderson creates an enigma, a man who is murderous and power hungry yet untruthful about his intent. This creates a literal powder keg, as the prospector does anything and everything in order to gain his fortunes, even if that means letting go of his son, and having the bond between them severed irrevocably. Of course, besides Anderson creating the character of Daniel Plainview so beautifully, it is acted by the incomparable Daniel Day-Lewis. Day-Lewis is Plainview, embodying the character so well that without him this film would never have even touched on what it became. Day-Lewis is cold, conniving, principled and yet heartless, and does anything and everything for money. He isn't only driven by money though, but the stability his son needs, the familiar ties he thinks he wants even after all these years, and power over his oppressors. His performance includes a brash voice, a cocky attitude, and several moments that will remain iconic in film forever more. Besides his own ambitions he has to have the town understand him and give him license to take what he needs. He comes up against the town preacher, played by Paul Dano, and their feud begins. Paul Dano gives the best performance of his career thus far and does so under the guise of a man with his own ambitions, using moral superiority, cunning and empirical thinking to get himself a cut of Daniel's profits for himself, all in the name of religion. It's this vendetta between the two, enacted in violence and callous accusations, that remains pivotal to the film and drives it forward time and again. Even in the end there isn't any true resolution, only an end to the madness each has decided to enact. Very impressive was the choice in composer as well, as the score remains out of place and yet so tense and perfect. The score is done by Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood, who has composed some impressive films as of late, and who remains one to watch. Between the performances, music, setting, and contextual use of dialogue and historical content this film has become an instant classic, and its gradual move towards power grabbing will keep you rooted to your seat the entire way through.
Super Reviewer
½ December 29, 2007
There Will Be Blood follows the rise of oil tycoon Daniel Plainview from his humble beginnings as a prospector working the land with his own two hands through to solitary mansion-bound multi-millionaire. I'm not surprised that this was adapted from a book published in 1927; it has a real old-fashioned feel to it and a palpable sense of authenticity. Therefore anyone used to the constant fast cuts, CGI, pop music soundtracks and wibbly wobbly camera work of modern cinema may find it tough going. It's a character study pure and simple, and Daniel Day Lewis is simply incredible. He is an ACTOR, not a movie star, and at no point to you become aware of the fact that he is just an actor acting; he genuinely brings Plainview to life. Unfortunately for those who like their films with a lovable hero to cheer for, he's a cold, bullying opportunist with a single-minded desire not only to succeed, but to see everyone else fail; if he encounters anyone or anything he can't control, he must destroy it. Not the most likeable protagonist then! And to top it off, I found Paul Dano's evangelist even more disturbing; Plainview may be cold-hearted and ruthless, but at least he had a brutal honesty about him and never pretended to be something he's not. It's also a beautifully shot film with many memorable images and an extremely expressive score from Johnny Greenwood. It's certainly not a cinematic quick fix, and I think the best way to describe it is Citizen Kane meets Michael Corleone. It won't be to everyone's taste but anyone wanting a cerebral character study combined with a powerhouse acting performance should look no further.
Market Man
Super Reviewer
½ October 12, 2012
The acting by Daniel Day-Lewis is probably the main reason to watch this. Otherwise, "There Will Be Blood" is an alright film. It's slow and for the most part boring. Also, the score is lame, did not fit at all. But I do like how it touches on aspects of human nature: greed, competitiveness, hatred, and so on.
Super Reviewer
January 5, 2008
An American masterpiece concerning a greedy oil-man (Daniel Day-Lewis) who comes to a small town in California during the start of the 20th century, offering peace and prosperity to all who won't step in his way, until a zealous young pastor (Paul Dano) interferes with his plans for power and control over the region. Upon re-watch, I consider this to be a masterful film, rather than just a mediocre one. The main reason why is just how skillfully and effortlessly director P.T. Anderson sucks you in to these characters, as reprehensible as they are, and makes them arresting ones you can not help but look away from. As chaotic as the finale to the movie is, it is an appropriately fitting one considering all the pent up anger Day-Lewis's Daniel Plainview stores up inside him over the years. It is a disturbing downward spiral into the dark soul of a troubled human being, but one that you can not help but remember for a long time after the credits roll. Day-Lewis, the best actor working on the planet right now, is phenomenal as always, and Dano is just as good as a pastor corrupted by his lust for power. Engrossing, if despicable, this film flies by thanks to the hypnotizing grasp the movie takes hold of you right from the beginning, for nearly 160 minutes. Not many directors can pull that feat off.
Super Reviewer
August 12, 2012
Daniel Day-Lewis gives possible his greatest performance as a greed-driven driller in the turn of the new century. The film presents an awe-inspiring with splendid performances from the entire cast. Paul Thomas Anderson directs his best piece to date. 4/5
Super Reviewer
February 22, 2011
2 words (or 3?). Daniel-Day Lewis. What a performance. You are not going to see acting like this in a long time. If compared to any other actor in Hollywood at this time, no one would match up to his performance. Daniel-Day Lewis is THAT good in this movie. Many will stray from this seemingly, anti-climactic movie but this movie is impeccably made. The direction: phenomenal. Cinematography: Absolutely gorgeous. This is a film! An absolute must watch. This is a masterpiece.
Super Reviewer
February 18, 2011
Just re-watched this film. Anderson and Daniel Day Lewis make an unstoppable combination. Self-indulgent, mesmerizing, and sorrowfully beautiful.
Super Reviewer
½ December 2, 2007
many critics and fans alike have loudly declared this to be the best film of 2007. it was truly a remarkeable film in all of the objective areas. day-lewis' performance deserves an oscar, far outdoing anyone else this year as he fell in and out between likeability and ruthless rage. he went from hero to villian more effectively than can be fathomed. the art direction, locations, direction, and musical score couldnt have been any better, and the cinematography was probably only exceeded this year by the assassination of jesse james. however, for a film to be a true masterpiece it must satisfy on the subjective end as well as the objective, and the subjective is where this film fell short. the story was truly profound especially when seen as a father and son story, and the themes of greed and the empty chase for vanity in this life where clear and powerful, but the story still never captured the allure of the great films of all time. the end was empty and the depression drawn on in many scenes was understood but hollow. a great film for sure, but this year has definitely produced a short stack of better films.
Super Reviewer
November 5, 2011
Super Reviewer
October 21, 2011
Simply amazing. Daniel Day Lewis is riveting and the cinematography is breathtaking. Plus a beautiful score from Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood.
Super Reviewer
½ October 2, 2011
Daniel Day-Lewis in one of the best acting roles i've ever seen, from anybody.
Super Reviewer
September 2, 2011
Plainview: Drainage! Drainage, Eli, you boy. Drained dry. I'm so sorry. Here, if you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and I have a straw. There it is, that's a straw, you see? You watching?. And my straw reaches acroooooooss the room, and starts to drink your milkshake... I... drink... your... milkshake! 

"There Will Be Greed. There Will Be Vengeance."

Let There Be Blood is one of those few movies that can be classified as perfect. It's such an amazing movie, that just explaining how good it is doesn't do it justice. It's a movie that must be seen. All the hype and great things I had heard about this movie didn't take anything away from it. I went in with astronomical expectations and somehow they were exceeded. 

If you're an avid fan of film; there is nothing to complain about here. What some(dumb-asses) call slow and boring; I call patient and refreshing. From the opening 10 minutes I knew this movie was going to be amazing. So few movies and come out and say nothing for 10 minutes and still totally suck you into the start of the story. It takes a special director to do this effectively, like with Kubrick and Leone. Paul Thomas Anderson is a special director and this is a masterpiece on the grandest scale.

The music, cinematography, direction and acting in this film make for an epic experience. Enough can't be said about Daniel Day-Lewis's spectacular performance. It's my favorite performance that I've seen from him. He pulls the character of Daniel Plainview off with powerful preciseness. Prior to this movie everyone already knew he could play an amazing villain. We saw him give a stunning performance as Bill the Butcher in Gangs of New York. He tops his performance in Gangs of New York, which after watching it, I didn't think possible.

I love what Peter Travers said about this movie, "Fans of formula and sugarcoating will hate this. Screw them." I couldn't agree more. 

Plainview: Did you think your song and dance and your superstition would help you, Eli? I am the Third Revelation! I am who the Lord has chosen! 
Super Reviewer
August 9, 2011
This is another exaple of why Daniel Day-Lewis get so good characters. His acting once again is impressive. How this pioneer of the oil industry becomes one of the richest men in America. It's a very complex character that you never entirely understand. His greed and ego are so high vs his beliefs and conflict against religion it could be too much for some viewers. His idea of family...well you'll have to see it to believe it. Fantastic story.
Super Reviewer
June 20, 2011
'Widely touted as a masterpiece'? Believe it everyone, because it is deservedly so. Paul Thomas Anderson's 'There Will Be Blood' is such a fiery success of a film that your senses may tingle. Day-Lewis gives one hell of a performance and deserves his Oscar. Dano also gives off pure power as Eli Sunday. This film is close to a perfect marriage between direction, writing, editing, cinematography, music, and acting. It seems to be a living and breathing monster...a well-oiled machine (no pun intended). 'There Will Be Blood' may shock you, rock you, or disturb you. But in the end, when that last line of dialogue is stated ('I'm finished.') and the title appears onscreen against the pitch black...
The only thing left to do... is clap.
Super Reviewer
May 30, 2011
I truly believe the term 'masterpiece' is thrown around at reckless abandon by critics and viewers alike, however, the term can be aptly used to describe Paul Thomas Anderson's "There Will Be Blood." The film is blazingly cinematic and one of the best films to exist about America. The battle between free-enterprise (portrayed in Daniel Day-Lewis' monstrous but captivating Daniel Plainview) and organized religion (embodied by Paul Dano's schizophrenic and cowardly Eli Sunday) is fitting, effective, fascinating and cathartic. Rarely do we see a film that has a perfect marriage of cinematography, music, acting, directing and editing. Few films are as polished and pointed as "There Will Be Blood." If you are any true fan of cinema, this is the type of film you should be living for.
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