There Will Be Blood, and brilliance also

A story of family, religion, hatred and madness, focusing on the life of a turn-of-the-century prospector in the very early days of the oil business.

In the early 20th century, Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) is beginning his career as an oil prospector. He travels to Little Boston, California, after discovering there may be oil on one family’s farm. When he finds this to be correct information, Daniel wants to buy up all the land in the local area in order the full exploit the natural resources. To do this, however, he must persuade the locals into selling to him. He does this by promising to build them new roads, schools and churches – of course, this is a promise he has no intention of keeping. All he wants to do is make money, and he doesn’t care much by what means he gets it. Inevitably, men die, the locals get nothing and Daniel gets rich. Because of this, he makes few friends and many enemies; even his adopted son is not safe from his father’s greed, and eventually, the man who once had everything finishes up with nothing.

There Will Be Blood is the widely acclaimed American epic that was one of the main contenders at the 2007 Academy Awards. Written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, it seems that this film was always destined for great things, and for very good reason too. The acting was first-class and the story was magnificent. Needless to say I thought it was a wonderful film.

I never tire of watching Daniel Day-Lewis’ performances, however of what I have seen, this is my favourite – mind you, I must admit that I have only seen him in one film other than this. He is someone I shall definitely be keeping an eye out for. As Daniel in There Will Be Blood, Day-Lewis made his performance seem effortless. I genuinely don’t really know what other to say thatn there is a reason this man has three Oscars on the mantelpiece in his house. He is a truly fine actor, and I sincerely hope to see more of his work very soon.

Of course, with Day-Lewis on the project and the strengths of his performance, I can’t help but feel slightly for one of the other main actors. Paul Dano played young preacher Eli Sunday who, unlike everyone else, saw through Daniel’s promises. Eli then challenged him about what he was doing which meant that, for the majority of the film, the pair were at loggerheads. For me, however, Dano’s acting abilities shine brightest when Eli gave his sermons. I really hope that Dano received an Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of the preacher as it was tremendous and it more than adequate the calibration of performance set by Day-Lewis.

If I was to pick a fault with the film, it would be that I found it to be a tiny bit too long. For the weight of the story, I felt There Will Be Blood could’ve done with being about twenty minutes shorter, although saying that, was there twenty minutes worth of material that could’ve been cut without compromising the quality of the film? I think it may have been a struggle.

Overall, There Will Be Blood is a superb film that deserves to call itself a masterpiece. I thought the performances throughout were fabulous and that the story, as long as it may be, was compelling need and original. I’d imagine that anyone who worked on this film would be very proud of the end result – I know I would be. 

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Kira Comerford

Film and TV lover with hopes to one day make my own projects for everyone to enjoy. Until then, I'm giving my thoughts on what I watch for inspiration.

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