Cinemaster Score: 9.7/10
Nearly every aspect of this film is masterful in its execution. Paul Thomas Anderson once again gives us a film to dissect for years to come, and provides a vehicle for Daniel Day Lewis to give his best performance to date. The character of Daniel Plainview, now etched into our brains, as he growls and snarls through a film full of tension and dread. His journey one of selfish desire and an endless sense of greed. The way his story unfolds before us, with the most shocking of developments and the most unexpected of revelations, is nearly flawless in its thematic resonance and quality. All the subtle yet powerful words that are spoken by the actors, so meaningful in their deliveries, and so impactful in their purpose. Each core element of the film, coalescing to form one of the most surreal and immersive pieces of cinema ever put to screen. There Will Be Blood is an experience, one fueled by a creative spirit of unflinching originality, and dizzying intensity.
Acting; There Will Be Blood is a film packed with excellent performances from an amazing cast. The considerably minor roles, such as H.W., Henry, and Fletcher are executed well by Dillon Freasier, Kevin J. O’Connor, and Ciarán Hinds respectively. Yet, the main two stars put on the film’s most intense and magnificent displays of their acting abilities. Paul Dano (playing Eli Sunday) gives his character an ecstatic energy and palpable emotions whenever he’s on screen. Leading the film, though, is Daniel Day-Lewis. Day-Lewis brings the character of Daniel Plainview to life in such a realistic fashion. His portrayal of an “oil man” is standout and highly memorable. Not to mention the way Day-Lewis and Dano interact and, really, make the movie what it is. Their acting reaches a higher level than most can perform at in their careers – allowing There Will Be Blood to be all the better because of it.
Script; When it comes to the writing in There Will Be Blood, it all feels fairly subdued despite the bold nature it truly has. This is mainly due to the acting and the lines’ deliveries. Listening beyond the verbal tones used during the film, the script is quite meaningful. There Will Be Blood defines the past tensions between wealthy, ruthless, prospectors and the religions they conflicted with. Scriptually, the movie doesn’t seem to stand out compared to other iconic hits. But – when you look at it in depth or upon a second viewing – it is easy to realize that isn’t the case at all. The words spoken are powerful and carry great weight in developing the main cast of characters. Plus, there are plenty of quotable lines – especially into the movie’s third act. Questions put forth of faith and greed yearn for your thoughtful attention, and give the film a deeper meaning. There Will Be Blood has undoubtedly amazing screenplay written for it – and it can’t go unnoticed.
Characters; There are many characters you will meet as you watch There Will Be Blood, but none are as magnetic as Daniel Plainview. Played by the iconic Daniel Day Lewis, he chews up every scene he is given and leaves little room for improvement. His character being one of the most complex and analyzed from any film in the last twenty years. Plainview encounters many throughout his journey, but most important is his son H.W. Plainview and the self proclaimed prophet Eli Sunday. There Will Be Blood is so effective because rather than shaping Daniel into the person he is, the film presents us with characters who reveal to us what Daniel already is at the start of the film. He is heartless and cruel, a clever reflection of the style of the movie itself.
Direction; Paul Thomas Anderson is one of the best directors working today. His craftsmanship is second to none, and the way he directs his characters is something to be studied and noted. The styles and tones he provides varies wildly across each of his films, and There Will Be Blood is no different. This is a dark and brooding work of art that never fails to shock or entertain across the board. Anderson makes his presence known throughout as he creates a soulful film film filled with some of the most intense moments in cinematic history. He manages to make the most mundane of scenes more intriguing than anything else in recent memory. Without his direction, There Will Be Blood wouldn’t be the bold and callous gem that it is. Having already had an illustrious career beforehand, There Will Be Blood only solidifies his place among the all-time great filmmakers.
Story; This film’s plotline is a seemingly straight and simple one. Taking it at face value, There Will Be Blood is the story of an “oil man” and his rise during the early 20th century. He has his struggles along the way, but Daniel Plainview (played by Daniel Day-Lewis) surely pushes through these adversities. However, the film provokes underlying themes of greed. It puts humanity into question and how far one would go for their own success. The conflicts that Daniel’s coldhearted character faces along the way are provided in many different moments and keeps the storytelling unique. Most notably, is Daniel’s direct conflict with Eli Sunday and the church he runs. Their relationship presents itself as destructive early on and continues steeply downhill. Their paths converge multiple times throughout the story and lead to a climax that is astounding – leaving audiences shocked and amazed by the tale’s entirety.
Enjoyment; While There Will Be Blood isn’t particularly enjoyable per se, there is a satisfaction from watching this near-perfect movie unfold on screen. The acting of Daniel Day-Lewis grabs our attention and never lets us go for the close to three hour runtime, and the mix of the immersive score with the beautiful scenery leaves us wanting even more from it. From beginning to end, There Will Be Blood is defiantly slow paced, and that may be a turnoff for some viewers. However, for those willing to be absorbed into its narrative, the film is a very rewarding experience. There is rarely a scene that goes by that one cannot remember for the unique visual aesthetic, or for a piece of memorable dialogue. There Will Be Blood is the kind of film that’s both an oppressive downer to witness, but also an experience that only comes along every so often.
David: “The first time I saw this film, I simply wasn’t very indulged in it. However, upon my second (and much more recent) viewing, I felt on the edge of my seat with intrigue. Despite the slow pace There Will Be Blood has, the film doesn’t seem to drag for a single moment – even gaining momentum as time goes on. Therefore, if you’re willing to give this movie its due time and care, There Will Be Blood is a grandeur piece of cinema.”
JP: “One of my all time favorite films, There Will Be Blood is not a movie for everyone. There’s a lot of slow paced drama, and little to no action spectacle, but that’s part of its charm after all. From Daniel Day-Lewis’ excellent portrayal of a greed fueled madman, to the film’s almost terror inducing tone, There Will Be Blood is an amazing movie. I 100% recommend that you give this a shot.”