There Will Be Blood Review

There-Will-Be-Blood-Review(Sorry for no video version of the review, but I’m currently visiting in Los Angeles) It’s almost become an automatic like taxes and death. When you hear, on the very rare occasion, that Daniel Day Lewis has accepted a role in a film, you start instantly wondering how much Oscar buzz he’ll get, because you KNOW he’ll get some no matter what. It’s a by product of Lewis becoming one of the most consistently outstanding actors of all time, and the fact that he seems to be VERY selective about which projects he’ll get involved with. Put it into perspective: In the last 20 years Samuel L Jackson has chosen to appear in over 77 films. Daniel Day Lewis has chosen to appeared in 12. The man is picky.

Much talk surrounded “There Will Be Blood” before it even started shooting. Adapted from a 1927 novel called “Oil!”, the lead character Daniel Plainview was a rich and complex one that a lot of people thought Day Lewis would be able to shine in. But for me, I had no expectations walking in because other than buzz… I hadn’t seen one single clip or one single trailer for the film… which doesn’t happen often for me obviously. It was kind of a nice feeling.

THE GENERAL IDEA

Daniel Plainview is a hard working and determined man at the start of the 1900’s who seems limitless in his pure determination to succeed. A miner searching for gold and silver, Plainview changes directions when he accidentally discovers oil on one dig. When one of his crew members is killed in a digging accident, Plainview adopts the man’s baby son as his own, telling no one, not even the boy, that he isn’t his natural son. As the years pass and Plainview becomes more and more successful, he develops a deep and loving fatherly relationship with his son, H.W. Plainview and even tells people the young boy is his “Partner”. But when Daniel is told of a rich oil deposit in a small faith lead community, Plainview begins to reveal his darker side. Pushed by greed and spite, Plainview quickly comes to odds with the community’s young fanatical religious leader, Eli (played by Little Miss Sunshine’s Paul Dano). Hatred, ego, love, greed and deception all boil to the surface like oil.

THE GOOD

I would e remiss if I didn’t start this off by mentioning the performance given by Daniel Day Lewis. The words just don’t exist to express how truly amazing he is in this film. Daniel Plainview is a deeply complex man, who doesn’t even know himself at times if he is a good man or a bad man… or if the difference even matters. Lewis is able to portray Plainview in such a way that all this is communicated without ever talking about it. At the same time has has you loving, admiring, feeling sorry for, detesting and FEARING Plainview. Every moment that he’s on screen he is conveying aspects of his character even when not speaking. Troubled and twisted, dedicated and loving, harsh and unforgiving, all rolled into this character that Day Lewis brings to vivid life on the screen. It’s funny… whenever I see Daniel Day Lewis in a film I think to myself “He can’t possibly get any better than this”… and then he goes and does There Will Be Blood. If he isn’t nominated for Best Actor at the Oscar’s this year, I’ll just assume slept with 15 members of the Academy’s wives and got caught… because nothing else could possibly explain it.

Director Paul Thomas Anderson has grown and evolved so much it’s stunning. I often refer to diversity when judging how good an actor truly is. Can they play a vast range of characters with equal convincingness (like a Russell Crowe) or do they generally come off as the same guy… even if they do that guy very well (like Sam Elliot). Both can be very good… but the really exceptional ones are the performers who can stretch and take on totally different personas and character types with equal ease. Paul Thomas Anderson is becoming more and more like that as a director. There Will Be Blood is a VASTLY different film than anything else he’s done before. It’s certainly not like Boogie Nights, or Magnolia, or Punch Drunk Love. The way Anderson uses visuals to tell story elements was remarkable. The entire background set up is told in the first 5 minutes of the film… WITHOUT ONE SINGLE WORD OF DIALOG! It was fantastic

This film made you feel dirty… in a dirt and mud sort of way. It really immerses you into the world the characters are playing in. You can “feel” how hard it is to do what they do… how much is SUCKS sometimes (the beginning of the film does this particularly well) and how subtle tension can be below the surface. That’s the real strength of There Will Be Blood… it succeeds in transporting you there, in making you feel the whole time like you’re standing in the room watching all the drama unfold instead of like you’re sitting in a movie theater watching a production. It’s hard for me to explain… but you’ll see what I mean.

THE BAD

My one gripe about There Will Be Blood has to do with the relationship between Daniel Plainview and his adopted son H.W. It felt to me like the whole film was the set up… and then it just skipped right to the end with no exposition of how their relationship changed and evolved over the years. One moment H.W. is a child… the next moment he’s a full grown adult talking about the status of his and Daniel’s relationship without ever showing us any of that evolution. The phrase I used to one person who asked me about the film was “I felt short changed when it came to the father/son relationship”. I was told the set up… then just told the ending with any sense at all of the journey that took them both to that point we find them at near the end of the film.

Ok, I was debating if I should put this in here or not… because is sounds self-contradicting… but it’s the truth. There are times in the movie where I felt a little bored, and yet at the exact same time I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. How those two things co-exist I don’t know… but maybe you can identify with the feeling.

OVERALL

A visually rich, performance driven look at the demons in a man and what greed and power can do to any of us. So simple and yet so deep and complex. One of the best performances by an actor this year, and directed in such a way to use the richness of the movie medium without an over reliance on exposition to tell the story. A small point that felt a little unsatisfying at the end was hardly enough to upset my overall enjoyment of this film. I LOVED There Will Be Blood. One of the best films of the year that leaves me desperately anticipating what Anderson does next. Overall I give There Will Be Blood a 9 out of 10

40 thoughts on “There Will Be Blood Review

  1. A long, boring movie that was short on plot with mismatched music.  Day-Lewis has superior talents that are displayed in multiple scenes, but the slow meandering of the film leaves the viewer unattached to the characters.  The reviewer fails to deduct enough points.

  2. This was one of the best movies Ive seen in years! Im not sure if Eli & Paul were twins or if he had a split personality. But he told Abel he was stupid & so was Paul so IDK what to think. I’ll watch it again & try to get the full meaning.

  3. I thought it was one of the best films I’ve seen in some time, visually a treat, eye candy, the pace, writing and style of the film was damn good and the story, damn, that’s the exclamation point

  4. ok “there will continue to be awesome”
    i just read the back of the dvd and it said “dark humor” so u want to slap people for giggling and snickering?? hey they paid for there tickets and hey why didnt you slap no one? okay cuz your scared to death and what 110lbs soaking wet… well tough guy stop running your cum catcher and just step up and do it next time instead of talken about it.

    the movie was retarded and boring, waste of 5 bucks for buying it off the clearance rack. worth watching once, now off to the pawn shop for the .50 cents its worth. certainly a waste of time and people keep saying “go back and watch some action movies with bad actor” ummm think this movie had some bad acting… what a bullshit ending… very disappointed

    1. Maybe you should stick to movies that have explosions, special effects, bad actors, and no story or point!! You have no concept of a good movie. You probably enjoy watching horrible (un-funny) movies like “Epic Movie” made by child like writers!! As far as “There Will Be Blood” It is an excellent movie.

  5. This is the worst movie I have seen in a very long time. Awarding this guy best actor or whatever was is like nominating Hitler best guy of the year. This movie is total crap. I mean total shit!!!! I would love it if it were destroyed. I would rather watch Yentil. That is how confusing and unentertaining it is. Very sad. You hollywoord losers supporters should be shot.

  6. Missed this one. Terrific actor, must have been a fantastic movie. I saw the trailer, no doubt the scene spoke the truth about how in real life, there are those who worship desperately, so hard they looked like they wanted to evacuate their bowels pronto, with all the bad intentions, and strangely granted. So… life. I like movies that depict life accurately and they usually are boring and intellectual types. Am sure I’ll find a copy and then the time to watch this… am so thrilled I think i should defer this until remembered sometime. Why was he a fake worshiper again?

  7. “If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake. My straw reaches accrrroooossss the room and starts to drink your milkshake. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! (Slurping noise) I DRINK IT ALL UP!”

    I love that

  8. The Best American Film of 2007. There Will Be Blood is anchored by Daniel Day-Lewis’ dynamic portrayal of Daniel Plainfield is arguably the best acting performance of the decade. There Will Be Blood is an epic film that should have one best picture! 5 STARS!

  9. after hearing a lot of good things about this movie iwatched it. I thought it would be crap and it was. It was just boring way too long i kept waiting for something to happen and it never really did. BORING

  10. The movie is an admittedly effective effort at attacking two things Anderson seems to hate most; the rugged individualism which built this nation, and the religious faithful which kept it morally on the straight and narrow, each crucially contributing towards making America the most giving nation in the history of nations.

    Anderson portrayed the independent, driven and self-made man as monstrously greedy, psychopathically hateful and murderously evil. He then portrayed a country pastor as not only a bit of a loon, but much worse, a hypocrite who would sell his faith for the promise of a few lousy bucks.

    Obviously, Anderson hates who built America and those who pray in and for it. This movie is his political statement on it, and reveals how he feels about some Americans today. Disgustingly insidious in its execution, it is hard not to imagine Anderson will one day have to answer for it while he begs the God he insulted so brilliantly for mercy.

  11. Justin, I agree with your points but, it’s all because of DDL… Take him out and you wouldn’t have seen anyones soul…. because the writing was so horrible.

  12. Are you people kidding me…this film points out the one of the major contrasts of todays world and society. In order to completely understand and comprehend this movie you have to know what lies beneath a mans utter soul and understanding of life. The theme of this movie is all to easy to understand if you would let go of you basic grasp of what a movie is supposed to be. Physical versus spirital is the main conflict, this movie dives to the depths of a mans soul to try and understand where we get our desire, or need, to trust in something more than that that is physical. It jumps from point to point making its case from a spiritual victory to the simplistic need of a physical grasp on this world. For you or anyone to simply say there is nothing in this movie and that you wasted your time watching it, then i think before you watch it a second time you should look at your self and tell your mind what your eyes wont allow you to percieve. This is a great movie and I think before you go about bashing about how bad it sucked, then maybe you need to spend a little more time understanding what makes a good movie or anything good for that matter.

  13. I agree with Tim. I absolutely hated this movie. It was long, boring, and confusing. The plot didn’t seem to have a point, the movie seemed to drag on forever, and i felt angry and cheated at the end. I feel they could of fit all the relevant material within 50 actual minutes. The acting was good but i still feel that i wasted 2.5 hours of my life.

  14. I agree with Tim. I just finished watching this movie and felt there was no point or purpose to this story. I just wasted my time.

  15. I agree with the ‘blood’ comment that it lured you in even as it was boring and compelling at the same time. However, I do not think it was boring more than as it was so astonishingly pictorial that its reality made the audience not recognize that it was a film. That goes along with Daniel Day Lewis’ performance (which I read a really interesting critique in the NY Times on his real-life portrayal of this iconic American man) of his consistent ability to pinpoint the emotion for his character and the character’s around him. I’m sure has a lot to do w/the development of Daniel Plainview and the inevitable demise of the character’s life.

    The film is very heavy because of its simplicity’s of a life story. The heaviness comes in between the stale relationship between father and son, perhaps similar to that of the father and son in “the bicycle thieves.” Also, the film is weighed in its length. The film runs around three hours and it gets to a point where you say to yourself “this is too fucking long.” But then Ely/Paul Sunday comes back into the film in Plainview’s mansion and they converse awkwardly about the past encounters. The extension past the proper ending placement becomes so uniquely necessary. The only unsatisfying nature about it is it’s bookmark ending to the failing figure who does quite peak of insanity. The speculation is more interesting than seeing its execution. I became a little passive because I was captured by the length. I personally find longer shots to be more interesting… past the point that no body can stand. In ‘blood’s’ case, seeing Plainview’s demise end seems reasonable because of the length. Something explosive had to happen if the film was elaborated to fit a lengthy conversation in there. However, that would not have been awful. Anyway, the film was amazingly compelling and I could not analyze much at the end because I was so taken from the awkward length. It was unfamiliar and I liked that.

    I did not like seeing the son at an older age. The character, or actor, was too clean cut and the physical comparison between older and younger version did not match.

    The film was an amazing accomplishment nonetheless and I will buy it as soon as it comes to bluray. I bet Sam Jackson comes out with 8 more movies before Daniel Day Lewis reads a script. mm i kinda hope not.

  16. I thought this was a truly awful film. Daniel Day Lewis projected in a cringeworthy display of self-promotion and a bid for Oscars. There was no shape to the movie, and it didn’t even work on a basic dramatic level. Anderson has one trick – to suggest the pointlessness of life through arbitrariness (most obvious example – toads falling from the sky – oh how fitting – why not turnips?). But his films are arbitrary too – any one decision in terms of event or arrangement is assumed to be the same as any other (is the final murder fitting or there purely to give a ‘sense of an ending’?). The result is a total mess, and I am truly saddened that film criticism has deteriorated so far from the glory days of the 1950s and 60s that no critics seem to be able to recognise a blatant turkey. The ‘homage’ to (or copy of?) Citizen Kane at the end is embarrassing because despite all the flaws and stylistic overtness of Citizen Kane there is at least a sustained attempt to convey meaning through style, hence a genuine sense of the central character as a mystery. The contrast reveals There Will Be Blood to be juvenile, muddled and deeply deeply pretentious.

  17. I just saw this movie, and I must say, it really should win the Oscar for best picture, and Lewis should win for Best Actor. And I’m not sure if PT Anderson was nominated for best director, if he doesn’t win, I hope it doesn’t go the Coen Brothers.

    Comparing this to No Country For Old Men (I have to, since it’s the movie to beat at the Oscars), I really disliked NCFOM. It was terribly put together, the story itself was not engaging, and the way it ends is among the worst endings I’ve seen in hollywood history. But this isn’t about NCFOM, this is about There Will Be Blood.
    The allegory from the way I saw it was that it was a reference to the american lust for oil and power, and that all humanity is pretty much steam-rolled over in order to acquire that wealth. This is why the relationship between Plainview and his son deteriorates. When his son was injured, he left him on a table while he went off to tend to the oil well. At a later point, he abandons HW on a train to be sent off to some boarding school. I think you can really see the lack of compassion Plainview has for his son, so to show there really was no need to fill in the gaps of the years leading up to HW’s marriage. He pretty didn’t want to be like his father, who admitted to Henry, his false brother, that he literally hated people.
    I didn’t like the ending to this film, but I guess it was symbolic. It didn’t wrap up badly like the aforementioned NCFOM, it just ended with a bad taste in one’s mouth. But I guess that’s the price one must pay for greed.

  18. I agree with the fact that the relationship between daniel and H.W. was skimmed over unforgivingly near the end of the film, almost like “Oh $*!t weve on got a bit of budget left to wrap up the film and we’re already at 2hrs30… how about H.W suddenly drops his balls and goes to mexico’. The fact that the audience hadnt seen the relationship develop and sour meant that they could not associate with the demise of daniel at this point.

    The end just became a little rediculous and forced. The main problem with this film is it’s attempt to use coen-esque humour, the sort of dark cynical humour. Whereas the coens use it to make the scene more emotive, it appears to diffuse any emotion in this film. Especially at the end the battle between eli and daniel could have been so much more powerful but just came out like a benny hill scene.

    This film is most definitely s*%tted on by Jesse James and No country for old men.

    Also DDL’s performance was good but I still did not feel for his character which would have made the film more powerful, the slapstick humour diffused his character constantly. Just because an actor does a part in an ‘arty’ flick and dons a handlebar moustache doesnt mean its oscar time. Try any of the guys in tombstone, much more worthy of an oscar! or Josh Brolin in no country etcetcetc…..

  19. This was the most amazing movie I’ve ever seen in the theater. It inspires me so greatly to make a unique, Kubrick-esque piece of cinema.

  20. This was a terrible movie

    I don’t really even know what to criticize- there was simply no message,no point of the movie. The story was weak. If someone saw any meaning in this movie please tell me because I saw none.

  21. This was a terrible movie.

    I don’t really even know what to criticize- there was simply no message,no point of the movie. The story was weak. If someone saw any meaning in this movie please tell me because I saw none.

  22. There will continue to be awesome: Eli WAS PAul… It appears at the end that Daniel is angry with Eli (Paul) because he was “fake”, he liked the boy who showed up and sold out his town for 600 dollars… but hated the False Profit that actually started to believe his own bullshit… Paul pissed Daniel off by turning into Eli and actually tried to BE that person (which is why he killed Henry his “False” Brother by the way) … This is what he saw and actually hated about his ownself… BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH…. This movie has been done before and will continue to be done again (all though not as well acted) for as long as Hollywood exists..Back to the Blood,… “I Hate most people”… (I hate myself) himself is what he saw in ELI and which is why he killed him, sort of a suicide/homicide Which was so UN-funny you could hear a “PIN” drop…. Get it?? LOL a pin drop… Now that’s funny!! Himself is what Eli saw in Daniel which is why he bitched slapped him in the church …(Which was VERY funny!!) (don’t get so holy, there will continue to be awesome)pun definatley intended (see funny is okay) You can’t have drama with out comedy silly!! Lesson over…

  23. A clock work orange part 2… Seen it? Then don’t waste your time with this unbalanced annoying film that left me thinking 2 things, Daniel Day Lewis is worth sitting through 2 and a half hours of boring “see through” symbolism, but he treats the audience to a poorly written and embarrassingly directed movie. What about the blood? I don’t need my movies crammed down my throat and spelled out for me, but this movie tries so hard to be left for interpretation that, that is exactly what you should do, LEAVE IT! Daniel Day Lewis’ Character was written with so much contradiction that it wasn’t believable, no matter how well acted it was. Also, the story line was so weak I kept asking myself “what is this movie about?” It was utterly impossible to get into.

    There are two reasons this movie is receiving and will continue to receive so much praise, Daniel Day Lewis is so good he could have made Spice World “Oscar worthy” (which Spice World was very close to the appeal of this boring tripe). Secondly, every few years Hollywood likes to prove to the theatrical aristocratic that they still believe true film “ART” has to be represented with boring symbolism. Trying to hard to be provocative this movie delivers, at the most, just that…. I went home after the movie and watched Gangs of New York again in remembrance of Daniel Day Lewis playing a character worth paying 8 bucks to enjoy.

  24. I agree with “There Will Continue to Be Awesome” about the audience. I just saw this Sunday and it reminded me of how much I can’t go see “classic” films in the theater anymore. It’s as if people go to films these days and spout off there overt sighs and “whoa’s” just to get attention. This is exactly what happened when I went to see Punch Drunk Love years ago…people desperately trying to make these films funny when they are obviously not comedies. There was a couple that talked the entire movie, but were kind enough to stop to laugh it up during the final scene.

    This film is very demanding on its audience and one really needs to fully “participate” in this film for 2+ hours…but unfortunately, we live in a post production world where film goers are overloaded with stimuli to make up for their limited attention spans..and when that isn’t provided people seem to lose it. It really is sad. This is an amazing piece of work…DDL is phenomenal and PTA delivers another gem. I applaud him (and the Coen brothers) for continuing to have the guts to make films like these.

    spoiler alert!

    right after Daniel shots Henry, some guy in the theater was nice enough to let out a long whistle. thanks!

    when Daniel is being saved, after one of the strikes from Eli, one of my fellow audience members decided to chime in and say “he’s gonna kick your ass!”. brilliant!

    these things always remind me of that Seinfeld where george says “that’s gotta hurt” during a movie and he tries to go back to the movie and get the laugh again…if only art did not imitate life in this situation

    see this movie. hopefully you can see it in a better environment…

  25. I really liked this movie,however, am I the only one who felt that Paul Dano did a horrible job. At first I thought that his overacting was a sly mock of the Church. Then I realized that he could not show emotion, he instead chose tos cream.

  26. First off, this is my review.

    just saw it last night, and i thought it was excellent.
    the 2 1/2 hrs+ was worth it. it never seemed to delay at any point really. every part of the movie was needed.

    if you’re into action movies, this is NOT your movie.

    one thing that pissed me off, to a great deal might i add, was the F’n audience in the theatre. it was seriously a 1/4 full due to a some weather last night, and ppl were laughing, ya know the annoying little snicker to themselves. these people thought they “got” the dry-adult humor out of it, as if they were so sophistocated. there wasnt meant to be any humor, stop laughing. it’s not a comedy, rather “real-life”, at one point i wanted to slap people for being completely dumb.

    if you think about it after the movie, there are so many things hidden, and when it comes to life, it blows your mind, such as:

    SPOILER WARNING

    did anybody pick up on the “dinner” at the classy-food restaurante? when daniel says to the blonde guy, “you’re the fool, i told you what i was gonna do, megred w/ Union Pacific, etc.”
    he’s all about being smart, and literally 1-step ahead of another.
    back when Standard offered a million for Daniel’s operation, he declined, and told Standard that he was gonna build a pipe-line, and that he was gonna go into where he was sleeping and cut his throat.
    so basically, at that moment, Daniel was placing insurance on his company.
    this is how.
    b/c a the dinner, he showed everyone that he infact did what he was going to do, “built the pipe-line”, in doing so, since the blonde-guy is a higher up in Standard, he knows damn well that if he or any of his Standard Oil colleagues think about tapping into Daniel’s Union Pacific operation, that Daniel would slit his throat, thus, he’ll wane anyone away from ever trying to contact Daniel’s company. now that’s f’n smart.
    there was a ton of this going on.

    END SPOILER

    no need for dumb people laughing in the theatre, it’s all about having the upper hand, playing the game, but the smartest will arise to the top.

    i need some help with this.
    was Eli a twin of Paul?
    or his dillusional self?

    this can point both ways.
    as in Eli could never give up his false profitering for his church,
    or there actually was a paul that used the initial money & kick-backs from Daniel to start his own oil operation elsewhere.?

    enough ranting. thoughts?

  27. I finally got to see this, and it OWNED my ass so hard, my tush is still sore. Day-Lewis was AWESOME, and I couldn’t wipe the grin off my face during that final scene. Damn, that movie was great. I don’t know how the Academy will pick between this and No Country. I really don’t.

  28. This was the worst movie of the season! After seeing “charlie wilson’s war”, “sweeny todd”, “atonement” and even “juno” over the last 2 weeks “there will be blood” was obtuse to say the least. There was no point. I read the reviews, were the critics watching the same movie? Those reviews were like the emperors new clothes, it had Daniel-Day Lewis and a hot director but no substance. The music was most annoying as well. At first I thought it was like the orchester tuning up, but the symphony never got started. Save your money and see something elseQ

  29. no one has seen this movie plus its gonna be a limited release which is a shame but during the oscar season people will be talking about it a lot. Saw Juno by the way GREAT Film.

  30. I saw the film this past Thursday at the DGA in New York City. Daniel Day-Lewis should just be handed the Oscar now. That’s all there is to it.
    A friend of mine said that we got to see what it was like back then and I disagreed. We saw very little of life back then. The movie wasn’t about that time. It was a character piece for the greatest living actor of our time and he is truly outstanding.
    Anderson and Day-Lewis gave a Q&A afterwards. It was stunning to see and hear Day-Lewis in person. How completely different he is from the character in the movie.
    But I felt the same way, John. It was a long hard movie to get through. Kinda like food that is good for you but doesn’t taste that good. PTA is my favorite writer/director. I am his biggest fan. This film is a masterpiece…and I don’t know if I could sit through it again.

  31. I would’ve liked to see more of a story; not just a vehicle for DDL performance. It’s highly disjointed and seems to rush through time without regard to plot. Director PTA treats the story the same way he does all of the characters (like Kleenex – there for a moment, then when they’ve served their purpose, discard them and move on). There is one character in the entire film (Plainview). Sure there are some others, but none of them are explored at all. The technical aspects of this film should be and will be receiveing loads of accolades. So much so that I think it will trump the fact that the story itself (what there is of one) is, as you said, pretty boring.

    Also, the score by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood is nothing short of amazing.

  32. “Ok, I was debating if I should put this in here or not… because is sounds self-contradicting… but it’s the truth. There are times in the movie where I felt a little bored, and yet at the exact same time I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. How those two things co-exist I don’t know… but maybe you can identify with the feeling.”

    I think that might be due to Daniel Day-Lewis lol. He sometimes can suck you into a movie simply because of how good his performance is even if the movie is getting a little boring at times.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *