There Will Be Blood is a drama film about the rise, success, and conflicts of an oil man, Daniel Plainview. Family, greed, money, religion, oil; they all have a place to play in the early days of the business. The film stars Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano, Dillion Freasier, and Kevin J. O’Connor. Based on the novel Oil! by Upton Sinclair. Directed, Produced, and Written for the Screen by Paul Thomas Anderson (Hard Eight, Magnolia, Punch Drunk Love), and produced by Joanne Sellar and Daniel Lupi. (Running Time: 158 minutes)(Rated R for some violence)
Ah, what a two and a half hour masterpiece! What great acting and well-placed directing! One question came to mind when the credits roled: WHY DID No Country For Old Men WIN AND There Will Be Blood DID NOT?!?!
The development of this movie came when writer Eric Schlosser approached director/writer Paul Thomas Anderson in high-hopes that he might adapt one of Upton Sinclair’s novels to the screen. At first, Anderson was bored by the book and compared it a lot to the current screenplay he was working on about two families colliding. But once he sorted through the rough parts, he came to the conclusion that it would be a perfect undertaking and adapted the first 150 pages of the book to script within days.
He wrote the part of Daniel Plainview in mind of casting Daniel Day-Lewis. Day-Lewis didn’t need any convincing, since becoming a huge fan of Anderson after seeing Punch Drunk Love. Apparently, their chemistry was fantastic to witness on set and off, noting the two have a great friendship and work off one another swimmingly. The casting of Plainview’s son, H.W. was difficult. The producers looked through tons and tons of possibilities, but the answer did not arise until Regina Freasier, a traffic cop pulled the casting director over for speeding, got talking, and suggested her son, Dillon, for the role. The director and producers didn’t even audition the boy; they say him as a perfect fit when they met him for the first time.
Production had its difficulties, many of them being conflicts with a competing film, No Country For Old Men, being filmed a couple of miles away. Daniel Day-Lewis ended up breaking a rib during filming as well. Dillon’s mother was nervous for her son working alongside Day-Lewis at first, because of the actor’s strict rule of staying in character on and off set until filming wrapped. Paul Thomas Anderson went to sleep every night watching (or listening) to the movie The Treasure of Sierra Madre as filming took place, comparing it to There Will Be Blood.
What makes this movie flow most strongly is its phenomenal acting. Daniel Day-Lewis is the most gifted actor of our time and we should all note that. He has a presence in film; an astonishing ability to look through the lens and feel as though his eyes are piercing more then our minds but our hearts as well. His intensity is what slaps us in the face, really. The co-stars do a great job as well! (Anderson is a actors director, and it shows throughout the flick)
The directorial style and writing–IS AMAZING! Plainly and simply outstanding! I look very forward to watching Mr. Anderson at work on his future projects.
The cinematography was tasteful, with the music capturing the mood of the story and the character’s emotions, and the sets were realistic. All in all, the production quality was very impressive!
There Will Be Blood was a fair success at the box office, bringing in over $75 million on a $25 million dollar budget (and also brought in over $25 million on dvd purchases). The critical reception was extremely positive, which brought much attention to the awards season. Its was nominated eight times, for Best Editing, Best Sound Editing, Best Production Design, Best Cinematography, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Director, and Best Picture. It won Best Actor and Best Cinematography. Although, it deserved more, I think. No Country For Old Men won Best Pic and Director and Screenplay over Anderson’s masterpiece. *sigh*. Well, you can’t win ’em all.
Finally, I bestow this film with 6 stars out of 7.
You know, this film isn’t for everyone. I mean that respectfully; its a different movie. A new feel, taste, and style. But a good one, I dare say. If you ever find yourself watching this masterpiece (that’s what I find best to call it, friends), comment on this blog post below and tell me what you think of it. I deeply enjoyed it!
…What about you?