Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Review: There Will Be Blood (2007)
After seeing his work over the years, I feel that director Paul Thomas Anderson has become the successor to the late and great Stanley Kubrick. Both have made films that are so perfectly-directed that if they were just meh, the direction would always lift the film's so-so material. But There Will Be Blood is certainly far from so-so and since it is my favorite Kubrick film, might just be Anderson's The Shining.
There Will Be Blood follows the story of an oil tycoon named Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis). The film focuses on his rise to power as well as his relationship with his adopted son H.W. who he took in to seem more like a "family man". Along the way, he even finds himself in a battle of wits with a rather scheming preacher named Eli (Paul Dano).
I'll start off by discussing what makes the film besides PTA's brilliant direction: The performance by Mr. Daniel Day-Lewis. Just wow. He is such a force of nature in this film that you forget that you are watching an actor giving a performance. It is amazing how he goes from charismatic and manipulative oil tycoon to raging monster and does it in such a subtle way that this performance more than has my respect. So, this is yet another powerhouse performance from DDL and it doesn't shock me that he won an Oscar for it that compliments his other two for My Left Foot and Lincoln, showcasing his range as an acting chameleon.
Next, I'll get into the direction by Paul Thomas Anderson, aka PTA. What can I say? The man is an artiste. I have loved his other films that I have witnessed and I really love this one too. I can't even say what my favorite well-directed scene was because I'm just like "How do I choose?". Every scene is perfectly directed. I also loved how he wrote it. The opening 10 minutes don't have a peep of dialogue yet I found myself glued to my computer screen. At first, he just lets the action do the talking. Plus, even though the film is the Plainview show, we even get a glimpse of Eli's point of view and how he handles the rivalry between him and Plainview.
Another thing I really liked was probably the film's score. Some of the best scenes involving the score were the ones where there is a use of fire, including the one where Daniel's well catches fire and the one where H.W. sets fire to the house. The score used for those scenes was quite chilling to be honest and almost add "fuel to the fire". Speaking of which, the fire is essentially a representation of the film's themes: Power, Authority, and Destruction. The scene with Daniel's well catching fire shows how Daniel destructs whatever he touches. But the scene where H.W. sets his house on fire, in my opinion, shows how he has a bit of power or "fire" in him, indicating that he may be more like Daniel than Daniel himself believes. *Film gets bonus points for being engaging despite 2 and a half hour running time.
Overall, There Will Be Blood is an engaging opus into the nature of greed, destruction, and power. It features a powerhouse performance by DDL as well as flawless direction/writing by Paul Thomas Anderson. This one I would highly recommend since it has become a modern day classic that has already become quotable thanks to its "I drink your milkshake" line. This film is one tasty milkshake that you could just gulp with a straw.