A sprawling epic of family, faith, power and oil, THERE WILL BE BLOOD is set on the incendiary frontier of California’s turn-of-the-century petroleum boom. The story chronicles the life and times of one Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis), who transforms himself from a down-and-out silver miner raising a son on his own into a self-made oil tycoon. When Plainview gets a mysterious tip-off that there’s a little town out West where an ocean of oil is oozing out of the ground, he heads with his son, H.W. (Dillon Freasier), to take their chances in dust-worn Little Boston. In this hardscrabble town, where the main excitement centers around the holy roller church of charismatic preacher Eli Sunday (Paul Dano), Plainview and H.W. make their lucky strike. But even as the well raises all of their fortunes, nothing will remain the same as conflicts escalate and every human value – love, hope, community, belief, ambition and even the bond between father and son – is imperiled by corruption, deception and the flow of oil.
This epic film displays how easy it was for the Academy to award Best Actor to Daniel Day-Lewis. His portrayal of turn of the century oilman Daniel Plainview is as awe inspiring as the footage. Written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights) There Will Be Blood oozes drama as does the oil rich land of fictional New Boston, a desolate area leased for drilling by Plainville.
Through his rise as successful oilman, Plainville remains within reach of his projects assuring his much needed victory over any and all competitors. Plainview deals with family, friends, foes and demons alike, all of which threaten his control mantra while touching his sanity.
Filmed within a treeless, lunar desolate countryside the footage easily symbolizes the wide open era of cutthroat business deals and land acquisitions complete with a sound track that scratches the inner-self with a retching reminder of the pain, fear and touching moment just witnessed.
Similar to Sinclair Lewis’s “Oil!” Anderson’s story brings us deeper into the well of human instinct and greed. The well that is There Will Be Blood comes in as a huge gusher of strikingly brilliant acting and cinematography enriching us all by the flow. At 162 minutes the film borders on boring and sometimes mundane, yet in time, rectifies and balances nicely.
Truly a film for the ages.
Review by Henry P. Gravelle
Official site: http://www.paramountvantage.com/blood/
Buy on Amazon: There Will Be Blood