There Will Be Blood (2007)
Writer/Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Adaptation of the novel “Oil!” by Upton Sinclair
Concept: 8 An oil man goes from rags to riches at the turn of the century. As his lonesome ambition skyrockets, his respect for humanity deteriorates.
Film’s trademark feel: Survival of the craftiest. The inconsideration of mother nature. Feels like an older silent film at times despite the modern technology used to capture it. Every stand off is like a British showdown, “I challenge you to a duel (stand erect and dignified as you take off your glove and slap your opponent in the face).” Who’s laughing now? Gentlemen behaving very ungentle.
Acting: 10 Uh duh… Anyone can rate this. I’m starting to believe that it’s only less detailed screenplays that limit Daniel Day-Lewis’ abilities. Paul Dano does not disappoint either. If it weren’t for Daniel’s hurricane of a performance his tropical storm would have gotten more cautionary recognition.
Locations/Sets: 8 Nice scenery. Tastefully appropriate buildings. A beautiful train. A giant oil rig engulfed in flames. God’s campfire.
Cinematography: 10 The mood contained here is not only immensely realistic, but haunting and breathtaking. It stirs your senses. I’m still drawn into it well after I’ve finished watching it.
Screenplay: 9 The ambition portrayed reminded me of Moby Dick. Daniel Plainview is Ahab. The world is Moby Dick but in this the whale is offed. Daniel wins but similarly to Ahab, it’s at the expense of his soul.
Dialog: 10 Dignified insults, charismatic deceit, outrageous threats, wit, and sensitive skepticism. There are as many slaps to the face in the dialog as there are physical ones. The acting shines partially because of the written dialog’s charm.
Costumes: 10 How many films have you seen where it’s suppose to be say… medieval times and clothing is just too perfect? During these times you’re suppose to see a little dirt and tear here or there. The research was well done and it’s obvious a lot of time and effort went into every single extra’s grooming and overall attire.
Musical Score: 9 Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead is brilliant. This we already know. He almost makes a filmmaker want to make silent films so that the dialog doesn’t get in the way of the music. There is a moment or two when I really did feel like that.
Targeted Audience: Atheists, false prophets, lawyers, politicians, monopoly owners, monarchs, family businesses, W.B. Mason, gold diggers, soap box protesters, rich folk, poor folk, sports heros/fans, speech writers, or anyone living in the land of opportunity really.
That’s the end!?: Any person looking for an “epic” battle against good and evil and then someone one getting the girl will be cosmically disappointed. As for me, I can’t believe how the scene balances preposterous hilariousness with morbid insanity. I think the ending needs to be seen at least twice to be fully appreciated. I rarely ever say that and even with psychological head trips. It’s foolery is infectious.
Why not 5 stars good sir?: I would never dream of arguing with anyone who gave this 5 stars. As brilliant and well done as There will be Blood is, I still don’t see myself watching it as many times as my favorites. It’s almost the type of film that demands multiple viewings. All of the near perfect ratings above are on a film’s icing on the cake. It’s the depth of the subject being studied that matters. If Daniel Plainview’s character went a little deeper into how indifferent he felt in the world, how the pathetic insects mucking it up disgusted him, or how everyone he ever knew was clearly a lunatic (not him), my personal love for this film would have matched his competitive nature. …unquestionably. A longer sort of psychology session with his “family” would have made all the difference for me.
There Will Be Blood would have been beyond frightful if we all saw that even each of us deeply sympathized with a madman with the lust to conquer. Normally we aren’t suppose to relate with that. The film came very close to breaking out that emotion wide open. As a result, I wouldn’t say this film completely represented what I stood for as a person, but I do love it very much. It’s commentary on religion and the daily squabbling for monetary possessions is just tip top. At the turn of the century, whether you chose a spiritual or physical outlook on the world, it was all madness. Today isn’t much different. It’s a very splendiferous film indeed and absolutely not to be missed.