There Will Be Blood is bound to be a difficult film for anyone to get through. It tries to cover a highly detailed novel but loses a sense of narrative. However, the acting performances are exceptional and there are nuances of brilliance, which make it worthwhile.
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson. Screenplay: Paul Thomas Anderson, based on the novel, Oil! by Upton Sinclair. Producers: Paul Thomas Anderson, JoAnne Sellar and Daniel Lupi. Executive Producers: Scott Rudin and Eric Schlosser. Eidtor: Dylan Tichenor. Cinematographer: Robert Elswit. Score: Jonny Greenwood. Distributor: Paramount Vantage. Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Dano. Running Time: 158 Minutes. Age Restriction: 18VL.
There Will Be Blood, released in 2007, is a coming-of-age tale about prospector Daniel Plainview, played by Daniel Day-Lewis in one of the roles of his career. Plainview gets lucky when he strikes a very good source of oil.
He then creates an oil drilling company. He soon takes on a child business partner in unusual circumstances. He tries to take control of other oil deposits but is met with challenges.
The film studies what the growing wealth does to his psyche. Ultimately, the plot is quite interesting and unusual so any greater description of it than the above would spoil the film for the viewer.
This is a well-researched film. Anderson has done his best to create a realistic portrayal of early 1900s US. He also manages to get a strong twang accent out of Day-Lewis which is entertaining.
Anderson uses unusual film shot choices, sometimes showing characters talking in wide shots as opposed to medium or two shots. This is to make the audience fell uneasy about Plainview and his world; one would assume.
Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood's very interesting but strange soundtrack adds to the uneasy, almost nauseating feel of the film. The oil business was messy, literally, and in terms of the kind of people involved in it in the early 20th century so, maybe that is what Anderson was trying to achieve.
But the film becomes confusing and probably demands multiple viewings for many viewers to understand what actually happens during it.
Day-Lewis plays his greedy, maniacal character with gusto and he deserved the Academy Award he won for the role.
He delivers an incredible scene that ends the film. Some people may be put off by it but I loved the ending.
Verdict: An original piece of art that becomes confusing. Day-Lewis must have lived up to the director's ambitions, however.
There Will Be Blood is available now on DVD and Blu-ray.
Lunga Gxumisa and Alistair Anderson.