February 21st, 2008
This is a review of the multi oscar nominated film There Will Be Blood, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, starring Daniel Day Lewis and currently showing at The Duke of Yorks, Brighton.
Ostensibly about oil, this is really all about one man and his greed and insanity. We see deep into this mans darkness, and although there are some glimpses of light, he’s pretty much dark through and through. The character in question is Daniel Plainview, an oil tycoon played by Daniel Day-Lewis, and he is the main focus of this film.
Daniel’s performance is superb, you really believe this is a real person and not an actor, the real Daniel on screen is Plainview, not Day-Lewis. There is not a moment watching Daniel where tension is not in the air, at any moment you feel he could explode into a wild rage, and, like the best horror films, when he occasionally does its never quite as bad as you imagined it might be.
Daniel is not the only character in this film of course, and the rest of the cast do a sterling job, especially Paul Dano, who was previously seen as the mute brother in Little Miss Sunshine. Here he plays Daniel’s nemesis, and he certainly has a lot to say for himself in this film! Interestingly, many of the other actors in the film are simply local people living near the film set barely acting, simply reacting to what is going on around them.
The film is also visually stunning, the dusty Texan landscape is understated and beautiful, and the image below is taken from the visual highlight, as one of the oil wells goes up in flames and we see the sunset as the flames burn on.
The haunting and dark soundtrack is also superb, composed by the newly reborn classical composer Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead, it focuses on three or four main passages repeated throughout the film. This works really well and adds to the claustrophobia and madness of Daniel’s character.
Although this is a long film, it doesn’t feel so, the (almost) 3 hours fly by as this is as fast paced as they get. I didn’t want the film to end for once, watching this performance is like eating a delicious meal, you just want more and more.
There will be blood is nominated for a total of 8 oscars, including best actor, film and director. It would be no injustice if it won the lot.
Read about the inspiration for Daniel Plaintiff – Edward Dohney, a oil tycoon of the time and inspriation for the novel Oil! by Upton Sinclair which There Will Be Blood was based on.
Wikipedia has a full page on the background and plot of There Will Be Blood.
The official There Will Be Blood website has a high res trailer, backgrounds of the cast and film makers, as well as photo’s and a handful of news reports. Best of all it lets you listen to samples of Jonny Greenwood’s soundtrack.