There Will Be Blood

Posted by Abbie on February 27, 2008 under Achive

Daniel Day-Lewis plays the part of Daniel Plainview, a wealthy oil tycoon at the turn of the century. He and his son travel the country buying oil-rich land from towns that, more often than not, are no match for Plainview’s business sense. When he is tipped off (for a price) about a huge amount of oil in a specific location, a tumultuous relationship between Plainview and a small, desperate town begins. The aptly named Sunday family sells Plainview their land as well as run the local church, of which their young son is the preacher. Plainview brings wealth and education to the town, but also greed and tragedy in the form of exploding oil derricks. The Sundays wish only to provide the community with a sense of faith, but their ideas and practices of Christianity are extreme and disturbing to say the least. The tension builds between these two pillars of the community and culminates in a dramatic mix of humiliation and tragedy.

Perhaps what I liked best about this film is its complexity. It’s definitely not the kind of film that allows the viewer to turn off his or her brain while a story plays itself out in front of their eyes. The characters have real depth, in that you’re not quite sure you like the protagonist, and the antagonist is really just doing what he thinks is best. Paul Dano’s performance as both Paul and Eli Sunday is nothing short of superb. He manages to be threatening, disturbing, and desperately genuine all at once. Daniel Day-Lewis’s portrayal of Plainview is just as good, but different in that his voice is just as important to the character as anything else. It absolutely resonates.

There Will Be Blood is certainly not mindless entertainment, and some parts don’t seem to make sense the first time around. It’s the kind of film you can watch numerous times and understand and enjoy it a little more each time.


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