"There Will Be Blood"
Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson.
Written by Paul Thomas Anderson. Based loosely on the novel
"Oil!" by Upton Sinclair.
Starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano, Dillon Freasier and Ciarán
Release Year: 2007
Review Date: 1/6/08
Paul Thomas Anderson has generally made good
movies--most everyone has seen
"Boogie Nights", and if you haven't seen "Hard Eight", it's a good
rent--but his last major release,
Love", was uneven. The time away has been great for Mr.
Anderson, because "There Will Be Blood" is certainly his best effort
It helps that one Daniel Day-Lewis enlisted
for service in Anderson's film; his Daniel Plainview character isn't
just a lock for a Best Actor Oscar, it's more certain than the sun
rising tomorrow. Plainview is the center of "There Will Be
Blood", which follow's Plainview's story around the
turn-of-the-20th-century oil business in California. Plainview
starts out as a mineral prospector in 1898 but moves on to the oil
business in the early 1900s; when we really begin to learn about
him, he and his 9-year-old son H.W. Plainview (Dillon Freasier) are
scouring California for the Next Big Thing. They meet a man
named Paul Sunday (Paul Dano, from
Miss Sunshine") who tells them about Little Boston, CA, a
prospect so rich with oil that it is literally sitting on the
surface in the hills; after paying Paul a finder's fee, Daniel moves
his oil operation to Little Boston and the movie delves down
multiple paths from there.
Sure, the performances by Day-Lewis, Dano,
and all of the performers in "There Will Be Blood" are strong, but
even better were two different things to me. First, the
cinematography; I still think that
"No Country for Old Men" will win the Oscar on this, but the
look of "Blood" is so great, so beautiful, so rich despite a muted
palette of colors that make up the landscape and the actors'
costumes throughout. Second, the oil business. I was
fascinated with how the business of getting oil out of the dirt must
have been for real oil men back in the early 1900s; as portrayed in
the film, this makes for an interesting backdrop since I can't think
of the last time I watched an oil movie, as it were.
Drug-addled dramas? Check. Sexual thrillers?
Check? Gang-violence action films? Check. Love
stories? Check. But, oil drilling dramas? Uh, no.
This makes "There Will Be Blood" a unique pseudo-docudrama with its
mix of storytelling and real-life backdrop.
Paired with a compelling lead character, the
150-minute running time of "There Will Be Blood" runs along
surprisingly fast. A lock for many of the upcoming Oscar
nominations, and with good reason.
Rating: Opening Weekend
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Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard