Monday, September 3, 2012

Movie of the Week – There Will Be Blood

This week’s movie is There Will Be Blood (2007).

The drama is about Daniel Plainview, a turn-of-the-century oil man whose lust for greed, competitive spirit and hatred for fellow man leads to a confrontation with a small-time religious figure, Eli Sunday, whose church sits in the town of Little Boston and whose patrons have land under which there is tons of oil that Plainview wants to get at. The film is the fifth from writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson (and probably my favorite of his, though I do also really like Magnolia). It has some of the best aesthetics of any recent film, with a magnificent score by Jonny Greenwood, Oscar winning cinematography from Robert Elswit (though, Roger Deakins could have won for The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and No Country for Old Men or Seamus McGarvey for Atonement too, as their work is also brilliant) and great production designer from Jack Fisk (giving it a Terrence Malick feel). Daniel Day-Lewis stars giving an incredible performance (probably one of the five greatest performances of the decade), and Paul Dano is good in support. Ciaran Hinds is also good in a small role. While there is an element of a western tone to the film, it mostly plays as a platform for two great characters to clash. Typically in a narrative, the protagonist will go on a journey that changes him or teaches him something, but here with Plainview he just becomes more entrenched in his own mania (which is great for us, the viewers, as it is utterly compelling). In many ways the film reminds me of Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon. It is a must-see for fans of P.T. Anderson and brilliant character performances. Check out the trailer.

Available on Blu-ray, DVD and Streaming

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