Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) is an oil prospector in the early years of the 20th century. He travelled with his adopted son H.W. to Little Boston, California to dig for oil. Eli Sunday (Paul Dano) is one of a pair of twins who family farm Daniel purchases for the major oil deposit located on it. Eli is a preacher and wants the money from the sale of the property to finance his own church. The tension between these two men grows, as does the greed. This film is loosely based on the 1927 Upton Sinclair novel “Oil!”
Although the premise may not seem like an interesting movie, somehow this movie manages to be that, and much more. With beautiful cinematography and a perfect performance from Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood is a great movie and is one of Paul Thomas Anderson’s best.
The story does take its time to progress, it is a drama; it’s also long at 2 hours and 40 minutes. I can’t be sure that everyone who watches this movie will like it; it might not interest some people. I know that not many people would be interested in this movie on its premise alone. Another reason that people might not like this movie is that it is often quite negative. Other than H.W. (the adopted son) there aren’t many people you can relate to in this movie; Daniel Plainview and Eli Sunday are particularly bad people. Also, the story mostly follows Daniel Plainview and his interactions with others instead of the main plot and that may disinterest some viewers. The script is really great and the characters are well fleshed out; any script that has a character has complex as Daniel Plainview is great.
The best part of this movie is the performances, mainly by Daniel Day-Lewis’s performance as Daniel Plainview; this is one of the most fascinating characters in cinema. He is a character that can’t be summarised in one sentence, only in about 2 hours and 40 minutes. The film follows him nearly the whole time and it’s interesting to see his character as you learn more about him. Plainview is an unstoppable force, filled with greed and ambition and Daniel Day-Lewis was the best actor for this complex role. Not to be overlooked is Paul Dano’s performance. Some people may say that his performance was over the top and a bit annoying, but for the character he was trying to portray, he did it well. When you see these two characters and their rivalry, you can see contrast between the two but at the same time, some similarities.
Paul Thomas Anderson can always make his movies look great and There Will Be Blood is no exception. The production designs are well crafted, the film takes place in different locations and they all feel authentic. Same goes for the cinematography which is filmed really well, an example of this is an incredible scene involving fire – you’ll know which scene I’m referring to when you see it. When the cinematography is paired with the soundtrack, it is especially good. The soundtrack really fits the movie’s tone.
If you are a film buff, you should check this movie out. I know it’s not for everyone; it might not be interesting for people, it may be too long or maybe it might be too gritty and dark for some people. I do recommend watching the movie even just for the performances – in particular by Daniel Day-Lewis who gives one of the best performances shown on film. There Will Be Blood is one of cinemas all time greats and I’m glad that I watched it.