There Will Be Blood Reviews
Gritty, cold and, at times, cruel, this period piece set in the late 1800s through the Great Depression, There Will Be Blood is, at its core, about the business of...well, business, versus the business of salvation. Neither are proven to be better, or worse, as the case may be, than the other except for maybe, in the end, Daniel Day-Lewis' character is shown to be more exact in his evil, while his moral counterpart, Eli, is shown to be naive in his selfishness.
Paul Thomas Anderson continues his track record of unique and heavily character-driven films, in the vein of Boogie Nights, Magnolia and Punch-Drunk Love. As usual, his characters are immensely flawed and capable of the most atrocious of actions. He's quickly becoming a master of creating characters who actually do what only our darkest moments think of doing, if then.
As usual, Daniel Day-Lewis is outstanding in his role, commanding immense strength on the screen. The Oscar was well-deserved.
My only real criticism of the film is that the portrayal of Eli's religious con-man being made into the weak, whiny hypocrite that he becomes, comes across more as a personal indictment of Anderson's rather than an necessary element of the movie, specifically Eli's senseless murder in the end. Unlike the seemingly objectivity of The Reader, There Will Be Blood shamelessly overexaggerates the stupidity of the congregation (and, believe me, I cannot believe I'm saying that since I generally believe Christianity to be silly). If Eli is proven to be a great fool, what then of the congregation who put such faith in him? It rubbed me the wrong way, but didn't make me enjoy the film less. Perhaps portraying Daniel as an empty, soul-less man is meant to counter the naivete of his enemy.
Director Paul Thomas Anderson crafts a harrowing tale of an oil baron building his life. It is massive in scope, but never forgets its heart. You get to watch a man manipulate, con, and steamroll his way to success. It is a character study of Daniel Plainview as much as it is an epic on the rise of capitalism. You bear witness to a father attempting to raise a boy, while prioritizing his business. There Will Be Blood is truly a monster. It's lengthy run time feels quite slow as I suspect most viewers will find its molasses pace to be too crawling. I assure you however, the pay off is well worth the wait. It is a brilliant story told in an incredible way.
Paul Thomas Anderson finds every interesting angle to showcase the acting performances, bleak environment, and dismal prospects. You will be astonished by There Will Be Blood's sights. I think the narrative alone is worth the price of admission. Anderson delivers a compelling tale based on Upton Sinclair's "Oil!"
Although, Anderson could edit down his films more, he gives you everything. The elongated shots, one takes, panning shots, and clever sequences all work to keep you enthralled to the madness on screen.
As I mentioned, the acting is top tier in There Will Be Blood. Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Dano play the most cruel, manipulative, self-absorbed monsters in cinema history. They portray men that care not for others and they play it beautifully. All their subtle movements and eye work reveal their deeper convictions. These are what powerhouse performances look like.
Musically, this movie lavishes itself in deep pondering silence. It is broken up by rushing themes that spark the imagination as to the sounds of industrialization. The score to There Will Be Blood is equally gripping and terrifying. The pounding sounds herein mirror the march of progress. From the slow thudding pulses of noise to the hectic insanity of big business. Composer Jonny Greenwood delivers a wholly original composition for you. I found it flows over you to push you into the air like one of Plainview's oil geysers.
I recommend There Will Be Blood for anyone that can stand weighty movies in run time and themes. There is a great story here if only Anderson had cut it down some. I still enjoyed the film and found it fascinating all the while. Give it a chance if you can stomach the blood promised in the title.
'There Will Be Blood' was short on blood, and long on annoying characters and dragged out sequences. You KNEW he was going to smoke that little Wil Wheaton-wanna-be, it just took two hours to do it! And there was something about his not-son that was super important to the movie, but for the life of me I have no idea what that was. OMG! You abandoned your not-son??? THAT was the worst sin ever! Not the killing. And he didn't abandon him, he sent him... ah never mind.
Weaknesses: One thing that usually makes a film work is a character arc. We want to go on a journey with our character where they grow from start to finish. Plainview gets more wealthy and greedy as time goes on, but doesn't ever seem to learn anything. He drives everyone away, including his son. The film ends on a weird note. Daniel murders Eli in his bowling alley, clearly a wealthy man now, and that's it. It doesn't feel like a complete film, despite running at a very long 158 minutes.
Overall: It's widely considered to be some sort of masterpiece, but I just didn't see that. It's very good. It just seems to lack the kind of character development that classics should have. Plainview seems to have one motivation and that's it. The ending is also weak. However, it's a must-see movie purely for Daniel Day-Lewis. He is scary good in this role and it needs to be experienced.
may find Daniel Plainview's actions and choices of words confusing, but you just have to get inside his head, and Paul Thomas Anderson does a very good job at letting the audience do just that. Not to mention a wonderful score by Jonny Greenwood.