There Will Be Blood Reviews
My cousin summed it up: "It's pretty much just Daniel Day Lewis being the best actor ever."
Everything is grist to his mill, exploiting any weakness and getting rid of every encumbrance ironically up close and personal.
Almost operatic in it realisation, I'd suggest a small intoxicant of your choice as a good way to appreciate the film, but do see it if you missed its theatre release.
Daniel Day-Lewis was given an entire year to prepare for the role of Daniel Plainview and it shows. Even more incredible is the fact that Paul Dano was given just 4 days (!) to prepare for his breakout role as Eli Sunday after he was originally cast to just play the smaller part of Paul Sunday (the script was quickly re-written to make the brothers twins so that Dano could pull double duty).
While the Oscar for Day-Lewis' performance is a no-brainer, the other--for cinematography--is actually quite debatable. Sure, the Texas locations and landscapes were quite remarkable, but there were also plenty of times when the images on the screen were unnecessarily dark. I would've preferred if the film won the Oscar for best sound editing (for which it was indeed nominated) as the use of sound--including distinct moments of silence--heightened the overall viewing experience to an even greater degree.
When I first saw Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood, I was annoyed. Annoyed at the abrupt final act, and annoyed at Daniel Plainvew's life. Then I realized, about a day later, this was American filmmaking at its ballsiest. Daniel Plainview is a magnificent caricature of American values, and his 19th century industrialist disdain for human life, is somehow the perfect embodiment for 21st century selfishness. He is what we are, what we will become, and what we fear the most. The movie itself forces us to consider our own personal dichotomy of religion and faith (through the hypocritical Eli character) and materialism. Whichever you choose, you lose your soul.
What I Learned: I am embarrassed to admit that I really relate to Daniel Plainview. I know I shouldn't but I do. His lack of attachment to people, his burying himself in a profession that doesn't "love" anyone, and his mistrust of everything except what his own hands can reach was a terrifying vision of what a naturally anti-social person can easily turn into. In art and in life, I am always running from Daniel, the definitive peak of decadence that you never want to reach, as an artist who strives to inspire people for the betterment of humanity, and as a human being who must always love people more than life experience. Otherwise, everything is worthless.
Nevertheless, this movie was really good and the acting and set pieces were on point. Would I watch it again? Mmm maybe not.