There Will Be Blood (15)



Drama (2007)
158mins US

Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano, Kevin J O'Connor, Dillon Freasier
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Writer(s): Paul Thomas Anderson
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

At the turn of the 20th century, Daniel Plainview has made a small fortune by drilling for oil: buying vast plots of land and draining them dry of black gold. A tip-off leads Daniel and his 10-year-old son H.W. to a rural community in the thrall of charismatic preacher Eli Sunday. Daniel establishes one of his rigs and taps into a huge underground reserve of oil, which he hopes to sell via an ambitious pipeline across the state. However, the tug of war between business and the church threatens the entire enterprise, pitting Daniel against an increasingly evangelical Eli in a battle for the residents' hearts and minds.

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LondonNet Film Review by Kiernan Maletsky
There Will Be Blood

Holes are dark and deadly places, filled with unyielding rock and viscous mud...

Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Dano in Paul Thomas Anderson s There Will Be Blood. Photo by Melinda Sue Gordon.  2007 by PARAMOUNT VANTAGE, a Division of PARAMOUNT PICTURES and MIRAMAX FILM CORP. All Rights Reserved.But Daniel Plainview still inhabits them, because they hold silver and gold and oil. There are consequences of such a reckless drive as his to extract wealth from the ground, and, when he's finished, the stone and muck have seeped into the deepest part of him.

There Will Be Blood is the fifth movie from director Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights, Magnolia). It features music composed by Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood and Daniel Day-Lewis as Plainview in a performance that sucks the air out of the theatre.

A scene from Paul Thomas Anderson s There Will Be Blood.  2007 by PARAMOUNT VANTAGE, a Division of PARAMOUNT PICTURES and MIRAMAX FILM CORP. All Rights Reserved.He starts as a model for the capitalist dream, self-forged from hard work. And over the course of the film, he slips further and further into contemptuous insanity, the smouldering thing within him growing, consuming him. The change is imperceptibly fluid - Daniel Plainview is the same man at the end as he is in the beginning, in many ways. Yet he is unrecognisable, from a bright, powerful man to a bent, lonely one thirty years later.

This is an uncompromising two hours and forty minutes, where no mistake goes without consequence and for every slight there is retribution. This is a departure for Anderson - gone is the subtle camera work and, unlike in the past, you don't have to work for the payoff; it hits you in savage blows to the head.

Paul Dano (as Eli Sunday) in a scene from Paul Thomas Anderson s There Will Be Blood. Photo by Melinda Sue Gordon.  2007 by PARAMOUNT VANTAGE, a Division of PARAMOUNT PICTURES and MIRAMAX FILM CORP. All Rights Reserved. Everyone should see this movie. It's not perfect, but it is something so valuable you'll want to be able to say, one day years from now, that you were there, seeing it in a cinema.

- Kiernan Maletsky


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LondonNet Film Review by Sam Cannon
There Will Be Blood

Adapted from Upton Sinclair's 1927 novel Oil!, There Will Be Blood is one of this year's Oscar frontrunners, nominated for eight statuettes including Best Picture, Best Director (Paul Thomas Anderson), Best Actor In A Leading Role (Daniel Day-Lewis) and Best Adapted Screenplay...

Daniel Day-Lewis in Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood. Photo by Melinda Sue Gordon.  2007 by PARAMOUNT VANTAGE, a Division of PARAMOUNT PICTURES and MIRAMAX FILM CORP. All Rights Reserved.Comparisons with Orson Welles's Citizen Kane are inevitable. Both films dissect the lives of charismatic trailblazers, who are corrupted by power and greed; both films are galvanized by a visionary filmmaker at the helm. Technically, Anderson's film takes the breath away, establishing a mood of grim foreboding with a largely dialogue-free 15-minute salvo that melds Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood's avant-garde electronic score with Robert Elswit's sweeping cinematography. Every frame is meticulously crafted, and in the eye of this storm is Day-Lewis, bristling with malice.

The London born actor, famed for immersing himself in roles, is a shoo-in for the Academy Award: his portrayal of a ruthless, ambitious and spiritually bankrupt oilman at the turn of the 20th century is spellbinding. We cannot tear our eyes from him as he hauls his battered body out of an oil well, or rages against a world which has the temerity to throw obstacles in his path. "I have a competition in me, I want no one else to succeed, " he growls. "Sometimes I look at people and I see nothing worth liking." He could be talking to his reflection.

Photo by Melinda Sue Gordon  2007 by PARAMOUNT VANTAGE, a Division of PARAMOUNT PICTURES and MIRAMAX FILM CORP. All Rights Reserved.  2007 by PARAMOUNT VANTAGE, a Division of PARAMOUNT PICTURES and MIRAMAX FILM CORP. All Rights Reserved.There Will Be Blood opens in 1898 with Daniel Plainview (Day-Lewis) digging into the warm earth, and almost meeting a horrific fate. Grit and determination see him through to 1911, by which time he has accumulated a modest fortune draining the land of black gold. A tip-off leads Daniel and his 10-year-old son H.W. (Dillon Freasier) to a rural community in the thrall of charismatic preacher Eli Sunday (Paul Dano). Daniel establishes one of his rigs and taps into a huge underground reserve of oil, which he hopes to sell via an ambitious pipeline across the state. However, the tug of war between business and the church threatens the entire enterprise, pitting Daniel against an increasingly evangelical Eli in a battle for the residents' hearts and minds.

At 158 minutes, Anderson's savage and unremittingly bleak film is a test of the audience's mettle, offering no escape from Plainview's annihilation of anyone who threatens his ascent. The title couldn't be more apt. Blood flows freely during the virtuoso opening chapters, but this is a mere smattering next to the melodramatic denouement, when all of the pent-up tension ignites an unintentionally funny explosion of violence. Dano's supporting turn, as a man of God guilty of vanity and pride, is one hallelujah shy of caricature and the sudden arrival of a fallen apple from the Plainview family tree - "I'm Henry Plainview, your brother from another mother" - beggars belief. But as long as Day-Lewis is on screen, spitting venom, Anderson's epic glisters.

- Sam Cannon


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