How does a man build an empire? With kindness or with cruelty? The title of this film definitely suggest the latter in Paul Thomas Anderson’s epic masterpiece of man’s pursuit for power. There Will Be Blood is the story of Daniel Plainview, an oil man on the frontier of a new industry as his hunt for riches destroys all around him. The film is a creative and technical magnum opus, everything you see in this film is incredible: visuals, score, story and the performance of a lifetime.
Daniel Day-Lewis earns his second Academy Award from the opening sequence alone, his deeply layered transformation into Daniel Plainview will captivate you from beginning to end. He’s a cunning and ruthless business man and his story of his rise to power is a great tale of the American way of life. Back in the day, you could make yourself into anything as Plainview made himself into a success and would do anything to keep it that way. Plainview’s makes great sacrifices, selfish decisions, he comes off as unlikeable but still commands great respect from the audience. The delivery of every line of dialogue, his facial expressions is astonishing, this performance should serve as inspiration for every amateur and professional actor in the business.
Anderson’s direction is commanding, the film can move slow at times but never bores, great sequences of no dialogue, the frame bathed in darkness. It all just adds to the experience of witnessing this film, the music especially drives forward the important moments of this film. The execution of the big conflict scenes in the film, mostly between Day-Lewis and Paul Dano who played Eli Sunday are captivating and show how dangerous and desperate Plainview is to achieve his goals. The film explores deeply the personal relationships Plainview has in his life and how despite presenting himself as a “family man” and a “honest businesses man” but it is clear that he is alone. It’s impossible for him to have friends, to have family – he will tear down everyone to pull himself to the top.
This is a long film, strange at times but needs to be seen. It is so incredibly powerful and has images that will remain with you forever. Plainview sitting on a hill, soaked in oil watching a never ending flame erupt from the ground, like hell itself was trying to escape, A church witnessing the cries and pleas of a guilty father and a basement bowling alley echoing with the talks of milkshakes. The corruption of man leaves destruction in its wake and There Will Be Blood.