Friday, July 11, 2008

REVIEW: There Will Be Blood

There Will Be Blood

Year: 2007
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano, Dillon Freasier, Kevin J. O'Connor, David Warshofsky
Distributor: Paramount Vantage
MPAA: Rated R

If there was one film that gave No Country for Old Men some competition at this years Academy Awards, it was There Will Be Blood. The film from director Paul Thomas Anderson who also directed great films such as Boogie Nights and Magnolia took home several awards at this years Academy Awards including best performance by an actor. While the award for Best Picture went to No Country for Old Men, fans still loved this movie. The film was also praised by critics around the world citing that its director Anderson's masterpiece. Now I personally haven't seen any of Anderson's film because I just haven't come across them. Just like my review for No Country for Old Men, this would mark my first time reviewing this great director's film and it certainly wont be the last.

Plot Outline:
Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) is an oilman who is seeking to make a fortune by finding a piece of real estate with a profitable oil well. He has no family except for a baby boy he adopts and quickly turns into his young prodigy naming him HW (Dillon Freasier). He is approached by a boy named Paul (Paul Dano), who tells him of a ranch where there is such an abundance of oil it is seeping out of the ground. When Daniel arrives he quickly goes about buying up the ranch as well as all the surrounding land and then with a crew starts drilling. He does run into some confrontation with Eli (Paul Dano) the brother of Paul. Eli realizes the oil is worth something and wants a share of the profit for his church. Daniel agrees, but once he strikes oil and starts raking in money, he completely ignores his deal with Eli as his true colors are shown and he slowly turns completely bitter to everyone around him.

The story is loosely based on Upton Sinclair's famous novel "Oil!". Director Paul Thomas Anderson didn't want to name the movie Oil! because the story of the movie didn't really follow the story of the novel. If I had to use three words to descibe this movie, I would say powerful, compelling and terrifying. There Will Be Blood is an extraordinary film from start to finish. This is film making at its best. I was blown away by the amount of work and effort that went into this movie. The movie starts off kind of slow showing Plainview by himself digging for oil. The movie does tend to drag alittle and isn't intensely paced like No Country for Old Men was, but don't let this fool you. Its filled with many messages like greed, corruption and evil that director Anderson wanted for you to see. Its powerful, its dramatic and really strong. I haven't seen a movie like this in a long time. My only nitpick about this movie is that it isn't very easy to watch. Its really invigorating and astonishing that a film like this can even exist. There Will Be Blood is definitely one of the best movies I have ever seen.

The cast for this movie is as strong as the story itself. Daniel Day-Lewis plays as Daniel Plainview and he does a fantastic job at it. Lewis won an Oscar for his role as Plainview in this film and it was worth every inch of it. Its as if he knew Plainview and studied his character for years. This movie wouldn't have worked if he wasn't cast in this film so thank god he was. Paul Dano plays as Paul Sunday/Eli Sunday and he too gives a believable performance. I really wasn't expecting much from him seeing as how haven't seen him before, but I was dead wrong. He shines in this movie like Josh Brolin shined in No Country for Old Men. Dillon Freasier plays as HW and although he doesn't have as much lines as some of the other cast members, hes still great. Hes perfect next to Day-Lewis's character. We also have Kevin J. O'Connor playing as Henry. He does a fine job here and really had me going.

This is the part where many people complained about when it hit DVD a couple weeks ago. The movie was just released last year making it relatively knew which should have resulted in a clean image, but that's not the case here. Grain is very obvious and noticeable in alot of the shots. I think this was done by the director himself seeing that he wanted to add a certain realism to the movie. I personally don't have a problem with it because I think it goes well with the film, but I'm sure alot of people will hate it because its going to make the film look very old. The film has great cinematography which shouldn't be a surprise considering Robert Elswit won an Oscar for it. Colors are nicely bold and seem slightly muted. Blacks are very strong and inky the way it should be. Skin tones are spot on accurate and have a certain warm feeling to them. Detail is also on the mixed side with some shots looking pretty soft while others looking nicely detailed.

The soundtrack in There Will Be Blood is simply ravishing. The score is perfectly scored by Jonny Greenwood and is really effective. The movies enticing story goes so well with this epic score. I know that famous film critic Richard Roeper found the score to be annoying at times, but I think its very well executed. It makes the film more real and the story more intense. We also get many other orchestral work that blends with the movie, but I think Greenwood's score was used more wisely. There Will Be Blood isn't the type of film that you would use to demo off your new surround sound. Bass is hardly used in this movie, but that's a given. You wouldn't expect a heavy dialogue driven film like this to have strong bass. The bass that was there was more than enough for me and I thought it seemed to work.

There Will Be Blood is near perfection in many ways. This is a powerful story of art and is really engaging. I haven't seen a film like this in years. This isn't a movie for everyone because alot of people might find it to be boring, but for those who don't mind long movies than this will work for you. The cast is brilliant and Daniel Day-Lewis gives a performance that's worth ever inch of that award and one that I will surely remember for years to come. The visual look of the movie is grainy and dark, but don't let this get in the way of you not watching it. The films got one of the best cinematography I have seen in a movie. The soundtrack is lively and well executed. That score will stay in my head for awhile. I thought No Country for Old Men was a fantastic film and think There Will Be Blood is just as good. If I had to pick one than There Will Be Blood would win only by a hair.

Grade: A


Santiago said...

wooooooohoooooooo it sounds great i am so freakin excited to watch it

Matt Cyganik said...

TWBB grew on me. The first time I saw it I really liked it, but it took 6 months and 2 more viewings to really appreciate the masterful job PTA did. Good review!