Movie: “There Will Be Blood”
Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Dano
Run Time: 158 min.
There were a few fun gems, like “Ratatouille,” in the year 2007, but overall it was an unmemorable spring, summer and even autumn. The best picture winner for drama at the Golden Globes was the decent “Atonement,” for comedy/musical it was “Sweeney Todd.” Aside from the thunder of the wonderfully tender Juno being ignored in its category, the only two legitimately great dramas of the year, “There Will Be Blood” and “No Country for Old Men,” both got snubbed. I can live with the latter not getting the award, only because it is the former that truly deserved it.
Director Paul Thomas Anderson (Magnolia) directed a loose adaptation of the Upton Sinclair novel “OIL!” to bring us “There Will Be Blood.” The film is a vehicle to showcase the fantastic Daniel Day-Lewis, and introduce a new face to Hollywood we will likely see more: Paul Dano (of “Little Miss Sunshine” fame).
The film centers around oilman Daniel Plainview (Day-Lewis), a misanthrope with his eye on money and nothing else. He and his son H.W. Plainview set their sights on a region in California called Little Boston, filled with a smattering of goat farms and an excess of oil. Unfortunately for Plainview, a young preacher named Eli decides to lock horns with him over a sizable amount of money that is wanted for a church building. The film chronicles Plainview’s quest for money and the steps he takes over the faces of others, especially the preacher, to fulfill his selfish desire in early 20th century America.
Plainview is intricately created and so perfectly executed, my heart raced as he menacingly stared at the camera. Also, Dano may be a newcomer but his Eli is a fully realized, timeless character for audiences to ruminate about for many years. Johnny Greenwood (Radiohead), was employed to do the music, and the score is a rather large departure from his band’s sound, perfectly fitting the barren vistas and fiery personalities that engulf the movie.
Aside from music, the subtleties of the acting are what drive it as a whole. A wince, a scowl and the occasional grin all help the actors display a movie centered around the concepts of greed, faith and humanity’s motives that all parallel into the modern day. I cannot speak highly enough of the film. I give it four stars out of five.