There Will Be Blood


Rating 3½

Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson

Written by Paul Thomas Anderson, based on the novel by Upton Sinclair

Starring Daniel Day Lewis, Paul Dino, Dillon Freasier, Ciarán Hinds, Kevin J O’Connor and David Willis

Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day Lewis), a miner and prospector turned oilman, will stop at nothing in his ruthless pursuit of power and fortune, in the process becoming embittered, alcoholic and estranged from the one person he truly loved, the boy he called his son. His nemesis, Eli Sunday (Paul Dano), a young shamanic preacher, proves to be equally as morally corrupt and even less honest.

‘There Will Be Blood’, based on a 1927 novel called ‘Oil’, was released in 2007 to rave reviews and numerous awards (50 wins and 43 other nominations, according to the IMDb website). It was nominated for eight Academy Awards, winning two, including Best Actor for the performance of Daniel Day Lewis. He gives a powerful and impressive performance, but it remains just that, a performance, a very clever but studied piece of film acting. For all of his undoubted talent and his legendary commitment to the roles his plays, I rarely find Day Lewis convincing. It is as if he constantly wants to remind us what a skilled actor he is, even if he dominates every scene from start to finish and has the uncanny ability to visually morph into his character.

The film put me in mind of ‘Citizen Kane’, perhaps because Daniel Plainview bears some comparison to Charles Foster Kane, the character created by Orson Welles. It is an impressive film, very well executed and visually superb. However, it left me a little cold and I am not altogether convinced it is the classic the vast majority of critics claim it to be.

‘There Will Be Blood’ has a 91% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes from 195 collected reviews. It grossed just over $76 million at the box office against a £25 million production budget.


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