Release Date: 12/26/2007 Rated: R Running Time: 158 min.
Detroit Chic Rating: ***** out of 5
There Will Be Blood, written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson and based on the Upton Sinclair novel 'Oil!', is one of the most enjoyable character driven films to come out in a some time. It is somewhat noticeable, if you're a movie fanatic, that this film pays stylistic homage to Stanley Kubric's 2001: A Space Odyssey. The film stars Daniel Day Lewis (Gangs of New York, My Left Foot) as Daniel Plainview and Paul Dano (The Girl Next Door, Little Miss Sunshine) in a dual role as Eli Sunday and twin brother Paul Sunday…
The performances in this movie are just astounding. It's always a treat to see Lewis on screen, as he spends months preparing to become the characters he plays. Lewis offers a unique brand of acting, much different than seeing other top-billed actors, such as George Clooney, who invest much less in characters and play two or more roles a year. When Clooney is nominated for an Oscar it is simply for him acting like his typical, static character; when Lewis is nominated for an Oscar, it is for an entirely original, unique character, the result of careful craft. Paul Dano opened his range a little more after starring in (literally) an almost vocal-less performance in Little Miss Sunshine and he really delivers a crisp and interesting performance especially in the scenes in which he claims to be tormented by the devil.
The resounding theme in the movie is greed. How greedy can someone get? Well, you'll just have to see this movie, but suffice it to say Daniel Plainview has more greed then Donald Trump will ever have.
Pictured: Daniel Day Lewis, pictured right, plays Daniel Plainview, an oil barren whose greed drives him to psychosis. Dillon Freasier, left, offers an excellent supporting role as Plainview's adopted son, who plays a pivotal role throughout the middle the of the film. (Image courtesy of IndieWire.com)
The film is set at the turn of the 20th century. A period piece usually has audience members turning away to find another movie to watch, but this movie keeps the focus on the character drama and action, keeping the movie a thrill to watch. This movie is less about words and more about events. The first 15 minutes are solely based on the actions of the characters while the chilling orchestration of guitarist Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead fame plays over the film.
Robert Elswit really needs to be applauded for his photography on this film. The style of the continuously moving camera really raises excitement in a film compared to stationary shots. Elswit has done the photography on every one of Director Anderson's five films as well as doing the photography on this years' 7-times nominated film, Michael Clayton (2007).
Writer/Director Paul Thomas Anderson, or as he likes to be labeled at the start of his films ‘P.T. Anderson’, gives us another great film that is not only stylistic, but also simulataneously moving, chilling, primal, and raw. This film is a must see and I would recommend seeing it at the movie theater before it’s too late because it’s hard to image that this will deliver the same impact as it does on the big screen, a feature it shares with less cerebral ilk, like the film Grindhouse (2007). Anderson continue his run of critically acclaimed pictures, which also include the John Holmes inspired biopic Boogie Nights, and the bizarrely cute film Punch-Drunk Love.
It will be little surprise if this film walks away with a majority (Nominated for 8 Oscars) of the major awards on Sunday night at the Academy Awards.
Do not miss the chance to witness this epic and raw movie, which showcase Lewis and Anderson's talents at their greatest. There will likely be nothing like it for a while to come — until P.T. Anderson comes out with his next film, or Lewis develops his next character at least — but with craftsmen like Anderson and Lewis, that could be another 5 years.