Iconic | Spectacular | Classic

Every once in a while there comes a film that is so compelling that it strikes a chord in the deepest psyche of human emotion. Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest film just might be his best, at least in my eyes it is. I remember his work from Boogie Nights and Magnolia, Anderson widens his scope to epic proportions and zeros in his focus intimately on Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis), an oil man during the early days of the business, at the start of the 20th century in "There Will Be Blood". I got my hands on a dvd screener off the internet recently and gave it a watch.

The opening scene bares resemblance to that of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey; there is absolutely no dialogue for the first 20 minutes, I watched patiently while the tension built as Daniel searches in a deep, dark hole for oil and blasts his way into the liquid gold, resulting in a leg injury. The film follows Daniel and his son H.W. (played well by newcomer Dillon Freasier) as they search for more land rich with oil and try and buy it up by any means necessary. Daniel’s unquenchable thirst for oil consumes his very soul and decays what humanity (and sanity) he had in a life-long odyssey for wealth and power, fueled by his greed and only matched by his ambition.

Midway into the movie Plainview’s greed is spotted by a bible-thumping prophet/”healer”, Eli Sunday. Sunday and Plainview square off in a rivalry for profit, each in his own way; Daniel wants wealth and Eli wants converts, and both pander to the masses to get what they desire. Plainview sees his ambition and greed inside Eli and reflects back to him his own demons and it fuels his own hatred for Eli and himself. The film is at its most compelling when Plainview and Sunday smack each other around; either in the mud or during a violent baptism. And adding to the tension is a blisteringly frenzied soundtrack by Johnny Greenwood (the lead guitarist of Radiohead), which reverberates as one of the most effective musical pieces of the past couple of years.

The ironic part is that Plainview’s story is a simple, but compelling one and classic in all the best ways. The film reminisces touches of Citizen Kane, The Godfather and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, which are brilliantly mixed together, creating a fascinating and thrillingly original epic. At the heart of the film is an incredible performance by Academy Award winner Daniel Day-Lewis (He was spectacular in My left foot) and I guarantee he will take home another Oscar for his work with this one as well. Lewis’ performance is a force of nature; filled with violent rage, spewing out like one of Plainview’s profitable mentality. It’s mesmerizing and impossible to look away. All at once it’s frightening, tragic and even—strangely enough—humorous. It’s the performance of a lifetime, and is the core engine that propels the film forward with solid momentum, and it’s just one of the reasons why There Will Be Blood is one of the very best films I have ever seen and an absolute must watch for everyone who has read this far.


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