DAILY FILM DOSE: A Daily Film Appreciation and Review Blog: THERE WILL BE BLOOD

Sunday, 30 December 2007


There Will Be Blood (2007) dir. Paul Thomas Anderson
Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano, Ciaran Hinds


“There Will Be Blood” is Paul Thomas Anderson at his most confident, cockiest and a little bit confounding. Six years after “Punch Drunk Love” PT returns with a departure from his previous films by delving into a novel (Upton Sinclair’s ‘Oil!’) and going back in time 80 years. Absent are the usual PT players (Luiz Guzman, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Julianne Moore, John C. Reilly et al). Filling their shoes admirably is the amazing Daniel Day-Lewis. Lewis and Anderson are a force to be reckoned with and they deliver in spades an epic tale of greed, power, ego and oil.

PT sets the tone early by giving us an extended 15 mins sequence of then humble oil prospector Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) as he painfully sweats blood to find oil in a desolate patch of desert land in Texas. Starting with a single pick axe we watch over time Daniel’s oil empire grow and grow and grow. We watch as Daniel and his young son H.W. Plainview swindle land owners from the true value of their land. One day a mysterious boy appears at Daniel’s door claiming to know where oil-rich land could be bought at a cheap price. Daniel and H.W. travel to this acreage and discover some of the most profitable untapped oil land in the U.S.

Daniel either buys or leases the land from all the nearby towns and becomes an oil baron. Daniel’s nemesis is the equally ambitious Eli Sunday (Paul Dano) – a god-fearing evangelical who sees the opportunity to make a name for himself on the back of the oil boom. As Daniel ages, his ego and need to crush his competitors seems to cloud his sharp judgment. And with so much wealth he becomes drowned in money he can’t spend. But is it money he desires or just the power?

PT Anderson must have seen “Gangs of New York” and said to himself, “there’s my next film.” Anderson gives us Bill the Butcher again, and puts him in virtually every frame of its two and a half hour running time. He allows Day-Lewis to go full force with the character and live and breathe Daniel Plainview. At times, Anderson lets him go too far, but for the most part he carries and elevates the film beyond what any other actor in the world could have done. Day-Lewis’ voice, mannerisms, walk and bushy moustache seem to turn him into a sadistic maniac. Much of Daniel Plainview is Bill the Butcher, and that’s o.k. because I could watch Day-Lewis washing dishes for hours and still be mesmerized.

Daniel Plainview is a fascinating man. It takes us a while before we start to get a sense of who he is. We know from the first scene he’s ambitious, especially when we watch him hike himself up a mine with a broken leg and crawl to the nearest shopkeeper miles away. We soon learn he’s a family man, or so he tells us. His relationship with his son is important to the story. At times he can be cruel – like feeding him hard liquor as a baby – and also respectful and educational – teaching him the ways of oil. Is Plainview just a swindler or does he endeavour to make a difference for the lives of the townspeople as he claims? The final act shows us who Plainview is. Two awesome dialogue scenes at the end reveal everything about the real Daniel Plainview and will have you shaking your head in awe.

Anderson’s proficient technical skills are on display again and he’s never one to hide his influences. Other than the casting of Day-Lewis Scorsese is absent here, instead, believe it or not, it’s Stanley Kubrick he’s channels. The opening shot and the opening 15mins is lifted right out of, believe it or not, “2001: A Space Odyssey” and much of the sound design and music score is Kubrick-esque as well.

The film looks fantastic of course. Anderson's frequent cinematographer Robert Elswit shoots the film with beautiful anamorphic wide angle lenses. He underlits most of the nightime and interior scenes. These scenes, some of which are difficult to see because it's so dim, creates a creepiness and sense of unease throughout the film. There's always something hidden in the dark, something about Plainview's morals, or motivations, or both. The exteriors are majestic - evoking the best work of the great landscape films which likely inspired Anderson ("McCabe and Mrs. Miller", "Once Upon a Time in the West", the Dawn of Time sequence in "2001: A Space Odyssey").

Much of the film is about texture, mood and tone. Anderson knows when to quicken up the pace and raise the stakes. He announces these moments with his unique ear for music. Instead of Jon Brion or Michael Penn he employs rock-God Jonny Greenwood (of Radiohead) for the job. Greenwood delivers an accomplished classical score with hint of the new Radiohead “In Rainbows” progressive sound. It’s both fresh and familiar.

It’s frustrating because the film is a masterpeice, yet, as I write this, one scene continues to nag at me. As mentioned the finale enlightens us to the true character of Daniel Plainview. At the same time there’s tonal shift to a comic tone we hadn’t seen before in the previous 150mins. Though it got some laughter from the audience it didn’t quite work for me. PT Anderson needed to say ‘cut’ at one point. Instead he lets the camera roll too long and the scene turns into slapstick. I would have overlooked this if it didn’t come at the very end. Anderson is making a statement hear, and it’s the right message he’s sending, but he does it with the wrong tone. This nags at me because the film is so damned good it’s like that one nick in an otherwise flawless piece of art. Enjoy.


Anonymous said...

I'm with you for the most part Alan. The final scene is odd, but I felt PT set it up nicely beforehand so it wasn't out of the blue. It was grotesque and right to the movie. Anyway, possibly the greatest American film in years. It's a must-see.

Anonymous said...

Just saw the film after having been out of the country for a month. I was a bit perplexed about the last sequence myself and thus thought about it for hours. Ultimately, it seems fitting to me, especially the ambiguity of the "I'm finished!" closing line.

Anonymous said...

You're right that much of the movie is about tone and texture. Unfortunately, this comes at the expense of everything else. I felt like this film was a mess and the whole thing was poorly constructed, not just the last scene. I think this is the work of someone who desperately wants to make a movie about something but who doesn't, himself, have anything to say. I wrote a full review of the movie here:

And a commentary on all the critical acclaim the movie is receiving here:

Anonymous said...

DJ Daniel Plainview: http://www.ucbcomedy.com/videos/play/891

Anonymous said...

豆豆聊天室 aio交友愛情館 2008真情寫真 2009真情寫真 aa片免費看 捷克論壇 微風論壇 大眾論壇 plus論壇 080視訊聊天室 情色視訊交友90739 美女交友-成人聊天室 色情小說 做愛成人圖片區 豆豆色情聊天室 080豆豆聊天室 小辣妹影音交友網 台中情人聊天室 桃園星願聊天室 高雄網友聊天室 新中台灣聊天室 中部網友聊天室 嘉義之光聊天室 基隆海岸聊天室 中壢網友聊天室 南台灣聊天室 南部聊坊聊天室 台南不夜城聊天室 南部網友聊天室 屏東網友聊天室 台南網友聊天室 屏東聊坊聊天室 雲林網友聊天室 大學生BBS聊天室 網路學院聊天室 屏東夜語聊天室 孤男寡女聊天室 一網情深聊天室 心靈饗宴聊天室 流星花園聊天室 食色男女色情聊天室 真愛宣言交友聊天室 情人皇朝聊天室 上班族成人聊天室 上班族f1影音視訊聊天室 哈雷視訊聊天室 080影音視訊聊天室 38不夜城聊天室 援交聊天室080 080哈啦聊天室 台北已婚聊天室 已婚廣場聊天室 夢幻家族聊天室 摸摸扣扣同學會聊天室 520情色聊天室 QQ成人交友聊天室 免費視訊網愛聊天室 愛情公寓免費聊天室 拉子性愛聊天室 柔情網友聊天室 哈啦影音交友網 哈啦影音視訊聊天室 櫻井莉亞三點全露寫真集 123上班族聊天室 尋夢園上班族聊天室 成人聊天室上班族 080上班族聊天室 6k聊天室 粉紅豆豆聊天室 080豆豆聊天網 新豆豆聊天室 080聊天室 免費音樂試聽 流行音樂試聽 免費aa片試看A片 免費a長片線上看 色情貼影片 免費a長片 本土成人貼圖站 大台灣情色網 台灣男人幫論壇 A圖網 嘟嘟成人電影網 火辣春夢貼圖網 情色貼圖俱樂部 台灣成人電影 絲襪美腿樂園 18美女貼圖區 柔情聊天網 707網愛聊天室聯盟 台北69色情貼圖區 38女孩情色網 台灣映像館 波波成人情色網站 美女成人貼圖區 無碼貼圖力量 色妹妹性愛貼圖區 日本女優貼圖網 日本美少女貼圖區 亞洲風暴情色貼圖網 哈啦聊天室 美少女自拍貼圖 辣妹成人情色網 台北女孩情色網 辣手貼圖情色網 AV無碼女優影片 男女情色寫真貼圖 a片天使俱樂部 萍水相逢遊戲區 平水相逢遊戲區 免費視訊交友90739 免費視訊聊天 辣妹視訊 - 影音聊天網 080視訊聊天室 日本美女肛交 美女工廠貼圖區 百分百貼圖區 亞洲成人電影情色網 台灣本土自拍貼圖網 麻辣貼圖情色網 好色客成人圖片貼圖區 711成人AV貼圖區 台灣美女貼圖區 筱萱成人論壇 咪咪情色貼圖區 momokoko同學會視訊 kk272視訊 情色文學小站 成人情色貼圖區 嘟嘟成人網 嘟嘟情人色網 - 貼圖區 免費色情a片下載 台灣情色論壇 成人影片分享 免費視訊聊天區 微風 成人 論壇 kiss文學區 taiwankiss文學區