Day-Lewis’ performance in this crime drama is proof he is a “great actor.”
There Will Be Blood is one of those rare movie-going experiences in which I walked away in a shell-shocked trance. I remember driving home afterward with my girlfriend, neither of us saying a single word. When we got home she was the first to break the ice, asking me what I thought of it. My response, “It was a masterpiece.”
The film is directed by Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights, Punch Drunk Love) and is loosely based on Upton Sinclair’s novel Oil! The plot finds a greedy oil- man, Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day Lewis) during turn-of-the-century America, searching for all the oil he can get his dirty hands on. He stumbles upon a small town in California that is rumored to have an ocean of oil underneath it, and begins to manipulate the townsfolk who are, for the most part, easily won over. Plainview does find opposition in the money grubbing local priest, Eli Sunday (Paul Dano), whose greed rivals that of Plainview’s.
Daniel Day Lewis’ performance in this film is further proof that he is one of, if not, the greatest actor of our time. If you want more evidence, check out Gangs of New York. His level of commitment to his characters is unmatched. Paul Dano gives the best performance of his career to date. Who knew we had such a promising young actor in the guy who played Klitz in The Girl Next Door?
The camera work also deems acclaim here. Thanks to cinematographer Robert Elswit, we are given very innovative shots. The camera movements are fluid and reminiscent of much of Kubrick’s work. The look of the film is gorgeous.
Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood provides the soundtrack for the film. The work is entirely orchestral and shows us where Radiohead’s musical genius originates. Because the first 10-15 minutes of the film are without dialogue, this soundtrack is an integral part of the movie as a whole, and Greenwood pulls it off with the perfection of an experienced composer.
There Will Be Blood is an affirmation of faith in films. It reminds us that, in an age of lackluster movie making, masterpieces can still be created.