Sunday, September 13, 2009

There Will Be Blood (2007)

TOP 100 FILMS: #90

Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis), an up and coming oil tycoon, clashes with local preacher, Eli Sunday (Paul Dano), as he tries to suck all the oil out of a small American town.

There Will Be Blood is about as polarizing of a film as you can possibly imagine, slow, methodical, and character driven, TWBB is the anti-Hollywood film that, to me, defined 2007. With a performance for the ages from Daniel Day-Lewis, channeling Bill The Butcher, and oil tycoons of the early 1900's. Paul Thomas Anderson delivers a movie that not only challenges you intellectually but provides you with a dark look at a character whose sole drive in this world is monetary.

TWBB is an amazing portrayal of the sacrafice of morality, and humanity, when someone's sole purpose in existence is for money. Lots of films come with the monetary morality clause, but TWBB captures it, harnesses it, and gives it to you in the form of a gritty drama, with morally obtuse characters, and nobody to root for. Day-Lewis is backed by great performances from Dano (who only had 3-4 days to prepare for the role as Eli), first time actor Dillon Freasier (as the son of Plainview), and Ciaran Hinds (as Plainview's right hand man).

Anderson has a gift for great performances. He managed to get one out of Adam Sandler in the very odd, and even more polarizing Punch Drunk Love, he got an oscar worthy one out of Tom Cruise in Magnolia, and Burt Reynolds in Boogie Nights. Anderson is a character director, he can create them, and bring them to life with superb casting on minimal budgets.

Not only that but behind the camera Anderson is a master storyteller, even though his films are often a bit obscure, and curious. His use of long cuts, really brings to life the massive scope of the town, and the series of emotions that occur to people over time, as opposed to instantaneous reactions. But of course, it's his writing that makes There Will Be Blood. A finale that shows not only the truly dark nature of our main character, bringing to life all that he ever really represented, but an ending that has inspired fans to charge forums and debate the greater meaning of it.

A true masterpiece of American cinema and storytelling, There Will Be Blood is a dark drama of epic scope, that'll force you to exercise your moral ideas.

6 better thoughts:

Ging said...

I don't know what to say about this one. I found it to be extremely slow at times but overall it was entertainging.

Ging said...

Imean to say entertaining although entertainging might be a good word too. :p

TheAnswerMVP2001 said...

A gave this a 7/10, because overall it was interesting in a bizarre short of way. But I agree with Ging, it drug on way too much.

Univarn said...

Yeah I've known quite a few people to feel that way about it, and I see where they are coming from. The first time I watched it there were a couple scenes I felt were boring, but it was never anything that drew me out of the picture and wanting to check my watch. Then, upon a second viewing I found myself not bored one bit, in fact I enjoyed it even more (the opposite of what usually happens)... so over time it's worked itself onto the list.

Zach said...

Great review.
Daniel Day-Lewis gives one of my favorite performances ever in this film.

The Mad Hatter said...

Great post - chalk me up as a big fan of this movie. The one-two punch of BLOOD and NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN made 2007 quite the year in my opinion...too bad big studios don't quite know how to market films like this.

Then again, it's too bad mass audiences don't know how to appreciate films like this either.

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