211 of 226 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Long, Dark Journey into the Soul of Greed and Power
Upton Sinclair's epic novel OIL! has been successfully transformed to a film by screen writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson ('Magnolia','Boogie Nights', etc). The film is a long song (158 minutes), covering a fascinating span of time in turn of the century California when oil gained the lure of gold and transformed the land and the people into creatures of capitalism and...
Published on April 10, 2008 by Grady Harp
35 of 45 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Another one impossible to rate
There Will Be Blood is another one of those movies that you will either love or hate. Daniel Day Lewis is fantastic in this extensive character study; the acting in general was superb. But the pacing was very peculiar--long passages occur when nothing much happens; and the music was overwhelming more than a few times, literally covering the dialogue. I am a composer...
Published on October 1, 2008 by Dr. Christopher Coleman
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211 of 226 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Long, Dark Journey into the Soul of Greed and Power,
Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) is a silver miner in 1898, but soon discovers oil and begins on a mission to become wealthy, owning most of the oil fields from the mountains of central California to the Pacific Ocean. With his medicine man manner of getting people to do what he wants he pursues his greed relentlessly, disrupting small sleepy towns like Little Boston as he gains access to the wealth of the black gold. There are odd characters along the way, such as the evangelist Eli Sunday (Paul Dano) who become crushable clods beneath Plainview's boots. The progress of the story is well known to most: it is the telling of the tale in the hands of wholly credible, completely physically immersed Daniel Day-Lewis that makes the story seem new.
The film's grimy atmosphere is well presented in Robert Elswit's cinematography and the odd musical score by Jonny Greenwood is as ominous as the vantage of Plainview. Greenwood elects to weave classical works into the fabric of the film: when young HW falls deaf after an explosion the silence is partnered by one of Arvö Pärt's 'Fratres', and the film's credits are displayed over the Anne-Sophie Mutter/von Karajan recording of Brahms' Violin Concerto. Strange bedfellows, yes, but entirely appropriate to the overall mood of the film. The journey is long and depressing, but the power of Day-Lewis' performance is magic. Grady Harp, April 08
570 of 628 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie, disappointing DVD special edition--5 star movie, 2 star extras--go for the single disc edition,
This review is from: There Will Be Blood (Two-Disc Special Collector's Edition) (DVD)When is a "Collector's Edition" not a collector's edition? When the second disc barely has an one hour's worth of additional featurettes and other extras. "There Will Be Blood" deserved to be recognized as one of the finest films from last year. That's not to say the film is perfect but its flaws are pretty easy to overlook because of Paul Thomas Anderson's sweeping and ambitious storytelling. I'd recommend the single disc edition as the "Collector's Edition" doesn't have all that much in the way of extras. The single disc edition is really all you need even though it doesn't have ANY extras.
The packaging for this set is horrible (which I could forgive if the discs weren't scratched up in the process). How did this get past the marketing department at Paramount?
"There Will Be Blood" based on Upton Sinclair's novel OIL! gives us two portraits of two very different men both ruled by their own obsession--Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis in his Oscar winning role who seems to be channeling John Huston from the film "Chinatown")an oil man who in spite of his impressive skills as a smooth talking salesman, doesn't like people very much (aside from his son H.W. which he uses to help sell people that his is "a family business") and Eli Sunday (Paul Dano)a smooth talking healer and leader of the Church of the Third Relevation. Both men want wealth and power for Plainview its a means to escape. While Sunday sees the oil leaking out of the ground of his father's ranch to gather a flock, reach out with his message and, in turn, gain the power that he believes he deserves. The two men don't get along from the moment they meet--Eli is on to Daniel's "plain speaking" way of doing business and getting something for next to nothing and Daniel believes that Eli is a charlatan. In their own way each is a hard nosed uncompromising businessman with visions that don't mesh.
Robert Elswit's cinematography deservedly won an Oscar for the film and while the DVD transfer looks good, the night sequences are a bit murky and dark. Detail overall is pretty good with a color scheme that accurately captures the theatrical look of the film.
Audio sounds terrific nicely reproducing Johnny Greenwood's score.
There are no extras on the first disc which has a menu as plain as Daniel's view of the world. The second disc features a vintage silent featurette that runs about 27 minutes and uses Greenwood's score to accompany it. It tells the "story" of oil and shows us how oilmen hunted for it and brought it to market.
We also get "15 Minutes" a collection of vintage stills from the era taken around oil sites, behind-the-scenes footage and various clips showing all the work that Anderson and his crew put into researching the film. It's a silent segment accompanied by music and lasts, yep, just over 15 minutes.
Next up we two deleted scenes that last nearly ten minutes. Under three minutes "Dallies Gone Wild" is an alternate take of the restaurant scene involving Daniel, his son H.W. and employees of Standard Oil.
We also get the teaser for the film and the original theatrical trailer both of which remind me of the lost art of crafting a great trailer that will pull in an audience without giving away too much. All things considered, this is a disappointing "Collector's Edition" even with the awkward collectable packaging that is included (where the discs slide inside) and would be prone to damage with time.
Conclusion: A powerful, terrific film and one of the ten best from 2007, "There Will Be Blood" appears in a disappointing special edition from Paramount. The film looks fine and the soundtrack is brilliantly rendered which should be enough to get fans to purchase the single disc DVD and that's what I would recommend.
The extras on disc two of the "Collector's Edition" are slim pickings to say the least. It's as if Paramount rushed to pull this material together in light of the Academy Award nominations and wins the film scored. They are very disappointing for a two disc edition and I can't strongly recommend the two disc edition based on this. If you just want the film, go for the single disc edition and wait to see what the Blu-ray comes packs in the way of special features.
A reminder...Voting at amazon.com is about whether or not the review helped you decide to purchase the product NOT about whether or not you agree with the reviewer. That's what the comments section is designed for. If you have seen the movie and didn't like it, write a review.
146 of 175 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Greed, That is. Black Gold. Texas Tea,
The first ten minutes of "There Will Be Blood" contains no dialogue, but it still manages to establish a cohesive story. It begins in 1898, during which a lone prospector digs for oil in the mountainous deserts of Texas. By 1902, an entire team led by Plainview has made camp in the area and has successfully struck oil. One day, a well accident kills one of the workers, leaving an infant boy without his father. For as yet unknown reasons--be they selfless or selfish--Plainview decides to care for the boy and raise him as his own. The story then flashes forward to 1911, which opens with Plainview trying to negotiate a deal with the locals of a small town. When the deal falls through, Plainview is introduced to Paul Sunday (Paul Dano), a young man from a small community called Little Boston; he offers Plainview his family's property in exchange for a handsome sum of money. Apparently, that property is rich with oil.
Without missing a beat, Plainview and his son, H.W. (Dillon Freasier), enter Little Boston posing as quail hunters. After discovering that the Sunday property does, indeed, contain oil, and after setting up camp with his team, Plainview gets acquainted with the devoutly religious Sunday family. The son, Eli (also played by Paul Dano), is thought to be a spiritual healer, and he shows this side of himself during some passionate church meetings. He and Plainview share an interesting relationship, to say the least; Plainview initially states that he likes all churches and thus doesn't belong to any specific sect of Christianity, but as the film progresses, it's obvious that church--or more specifically, God--has not and never will be a part of his life. Eli, who believes he has the power to heal his fellow parishioners, falls into disfavor when H.W. has an oil-related accident that can't be healed.
Things take an unexpected turn when a man claiming to be Plainview's long lost half brother enters the picture. His name is Henry (Kevin J. O'Connor), and he's come from a job in New Mexico to be a part of Plainview's life, to work for him and help him find more oil. Something about him clearly isn't right from H.W.'s point of view, and he makes this clear through a drastic act I won't reveal. I will say that, as time goes on, Plainview also begins to suspect Henry, which actually isn't saying a whole lot since his very nature is to be distrustful. One understands this all throughout the film--with even the subtlest of expressions, Plainview can easily express the anger, hostility, and fear that are slowly taking control. It seems all he has left is to let himself be manipulated, especially by Eli: if he wants permission to run an oil pipe through a piece of property he doesn't own, he must agree to be baptized in Eli's church. And as you might expect, Eli will actually be leading the ceremony. Watching Plainview being forced to say things he doesn't believe is a mesmerizing experience, not only because it foreshadows what lies ahead, but also because the scene is incredibly intense.
Pretty much the same thing can be said about the entire film, which thrives on tension despite appearing to be low-key. One of Lewis' expressions is an almost frightening counterpoint to Johnny Greenwood's score, a Bernard Hermann-inspired opus of screeching, tremulous strings. Such music is heard even during the "calmer," "insignificant" moments, such as shots of Plainview walking from one room to another. This would be inappropriate were this any other film. But this isn't any other film; "There Will Be Blood" is all about expressing Plainview's emotional turmoil, and as such, it's easy to believe that he's never had a quiet moment in his head. It's also easy to believe that entering his mind would be one of the most terrifying experiences imaginable, not just because of his contempt for humanity, but also because of the depths to which his contempt will sink him.
The final twenty minutes of this film takes place in 1927, at which point Plainview is more morally than physically aged. He's rich beyond his wildest dreams, yet he's emotionally bankrupt, and this is shown through two brief but significant meetings. I won't describe what happens or reveal whom he speaks to, but I will say he does everything he can to make everyone hate him, including us. In essence, we hate him just as much as he hates himself, which isn't pathetic so much as it's detestable. I realize that such an ending is not a typical crowd pleaser, but considering the story that's being told, typical doesn't apply, here. This goes double for Daniel Day-Lewis' performance, one of the best I've seen in a long time. To sum everything up with a brief phrase, "There Will Be Blood" is an absolutely brilliant film.
128 of 159 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The American Dream,
At the center of "TWBB" is the towering performance of Daniel Day Lewis as Daniel Plainview, who at the beginning of the film (1898) is a not very successful Silver miner who ends up by film's end as a just barely holding onto reality, whacked out richest Oilman in California. Lewis's performance is feral, animalistic, and fierce...all squinting eyes, guttural voice and slouching posture: Lewis feels every word he utters throughout his body. He pulls out all the stops and creates a character that resonates with pathos and humanity but his Plainview is also a symbol of a time when it was possible to get ahead by setting goals, setting out into a "new" world, grabbing yourself by the seat of your pants and forcing your will upon others and getting ahead: making money, saving, spending wisely...attaining the so-called American Dream in the sense that James Truslow Adams wrote about it in his "Epic of America" in the 1930's. Lewis's Plainview is Evil personified ("I despise success in others") yet writer/director Anderson has allowed him to have a positive inner life primarily centered on his son who he papalbly adores focusing all of his available adoration on him.
Let no one dissuade you from this: Lewis's performance here is on par with Brando's in "Streetcar" or Paul Newman's in "Hud." It's a performance that actors will be referring to for many years to come.
Plainview's main antagonist is Paul Dano's Eli Sunday, a young preacher who creates the Church of the Third Revelation in the oil fields. Thomas sets up a battle between the two: the supposedly ultimate Capitalist and the lowly man of God: a kind of Battle of the Titans: Capitalism vs. Evangelism. Their big, penultimate confrontation is as big and bold and over-the-top as even Anderson's own Shower of Frogs in "Magnolia."
"There will be Blood" grabs you from the first frame and doesn't let you go until the last frame of the last reel spools out. It is poetic, thoughtful, beautiful in many ways as well as ugly, real, ghoulish in others. Because Anderson's vision here is so aggressively solemn and ominous even Calvinist,"There Will be Blood" will naturally be misunderstood by many but ultimately this film will be remembered and revered for many, many years to come.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There Will Be Blood Movie Review,
In 1898, Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) is a determined prospector who strikes silver in Texas and in subsequent searches discovers oil. By 1911 Plainview is a self-proclaimed "oil man" who operates several wells with his adopted son. When he's approached by Paul Sunday, who swears there is oil literally seeping out of the ground on his father's ranch, Daniel expands his business and begins buying up all of the property in the area. Such aggression doesn't go unnoticed however, and the ambitious businessman soon finds himself at odds with larger oil companies and the fanatical local church led by the guileful Eli Sunday (Paul Dano).
The music by composer Jonny Greenwood is sensational, and perfectly complements every scene. At times the violins screech like a frenetic horror film, amplifying the atrocities of Plainview versus himself or presiding over introductions to marked location shifts, and at others it is melodic and impassioned, contrasting the contemplation of despicable character choices. Music plays during most of the film, tying together speechless segments and narrating the tone of conversations. Beautifully orchestrated, it is ever-present and manifest, but never interrupts the visuals onscreen.
Religion plays a strikingly offbeat role in the film, primarily in the form of Eli Sunday. A truly fanatical leader and a proclaimed "false" prophet, Eli attempts to further himself and his church through interfering with Daniel's oil prospects. Although Plainview is also unscrupulous and irrational, Eli's unbalanced preacher role is so immoderate that it clearly displays religion as discordantly nonsensical. His performance is obsessively masterly, and his comeuppance at the conclusion packs a bigger punch than this year's Michael Clayton, with its undeniable crowd-pleasing finale.
Daniel will do anything for his oil pipeline, symbolizing the idea of wealth and perseverance as opposed to necessity, including receiving a baptism in Eli's Church, an act he loathes. Grimacing through the entire derisory process, with which Eli takes perverse pleasure in tormenting the unbelieving Daniel, he gets his pipeline and later his revenge.
Daniel Day-Lewis embodies Plainview with such passion, authenticity and an overwhelming screen presence that an Academy Award certainly won't elude him. His dismal declension from a two-faced, shrewd businessman to an emotionally unstable soulless shell, who can barely stay sober and who, despite having everything has lost everything worthwhile, is effortlessly the greatest of this year. Comparison to Citizen Kane is natural due to Plainview's downward-spiraling character arc and his aberrant greed slowly separating him from humanity, but There Will Be Blood covers ground that Orson Welles' masterpiece approached dissimilarly- the love of his son and the times they spent together replace Kane's cherishing of his childhood.
Daniel's separation from his child both physically and emotionally doesn't come entirely from avarice, but from Daniel's inability to enjoy other's company sincerely. He hates most man and sees the evil in everyone, a self-loathing complex that causes his brash decisions to steadily become more volatile. "I have a competition in me," Daniel seethes. "I want no one else to succeed." Never forgiving himself and unable to deal with his son's deafness and his decision to ignore it, like Kane there is nothing but tragedy waiting for Daniel. He is unable to revisit the love he once possessed for his son and abandons everyone and everything in the pursuit of his fortune. Likely never fully realizing that his greed has distanced him from humanity, Plainview finishes with so much and yet so little.
- The Massie Twins
35 of 45 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Another one impossible to rate,
17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Performances, Plot, and Refined Style Make for an Oscar Gusher,
As I write this review, the movie has been nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Daniel Day-Lewis for Best Actor. Only having seen the film from the first day of its debut in my city, I can only say it's all well deserved. Day-Lewis's complex and convincing performance will be hard to beat on Oscar night. He knows his character thoroughly and the emotional range from hardened misanthrope to money zealot is masterful, indeed.
The movie begins with Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis), an oil prospector. He is surveying potential oil fields, using explosives to uncover the oil, and working in wells to test a new site in Coyote Hills. After making a discovery, he calls a town meeting where he assures the gathered flock that he is a family man, that he can deliver the oil, and he can eliminate the middle men who muddle up so many oil arrangements with contracts going out to several interests. With him is his adopted son, H.W., who is both an able learner and a reassuring presence. Daniel works every crowd like a seasoned politician, assuring them an oil field will bring their community roads, education, and bread on their tables. We get used to Daniel's speeches, but we soon get even more accustomed to his sharp negotiating skills, which include being able to cut a deal to the highest bidder for the oil fields he finds. His coercing methods with big oil men set him apart and at least prove that Daniel, the bully, goes after the big fish as well as the small .
Off the streets, Paul Sunday comes in his office with an offer. If Daniel will pay him money up front, he'll tell him where some oil land is located. They agree to split it up: Some of it down, some of it when it's discovered. To see if it's the real thing, Daniel and son head for the land, asking the Sunday family if he can go quail hunting and camp on their land. The Sundays are a zealous, religious family. Elder Abel and his wife present them with real hospitality. At the dinner table, Daniel meets Abel's other young son, Eli, whom the family believes is a spiritual prodigy. In the midst of dinner negotiations, Eli insists on $10,000 for their community's Church of the Third Revelation, over which he presides.
From there Daniel and Eli lock heads with their priorities at odds with one another. Both players have a lot at stake and counter one another with revenge. At one point, the oil field is guzzling over with oil, is set on fire, and the explosion hurls young H.W. from the oil well. From there a concussion of sorts leaves the young boy deaf and disillusioned. This development gives Eli a leverage tool he needs for his ever growing church.
Once Daniel achieves a measure of success, a man introduces himself on his property as Henry Plainview, Daniel's half-brother, and is able to identify all his main relatives from his native Fond du Lac, Wisconsin home. When that connection is made, Daniel shows another side of himself. He shares later with Henry "I look at people, and I see nothing worth liking." He also expresses his desire: "I want to make enough money to get away from everyone." Daniel confesses that Henry's company has given him consolation from his growing hatred.
Much of the movie sorts out the rivalry between Eli and the oil man, and Daniel's negotiations with the other oil companies and land owners. The film also calls into question the relationship between father and son. Daniel sends H.W. to San Francisco to be tutored in sign language and other important skills, but many question his method. He also finds out something about Henry, which make the estranged man's motives suspect.
`There Will Be Blood' has many atmospherics that go in its favor. The intricate score either sports a smooth, fluid old-fashioned appeal or is so eerily frenetic that it goes through your entire nervous system. Between all the nuances, a fine story, and fascinating portrayals, the movie's clock time of nearly two hours and forty minutes never produces fidgeting. No small feat. The epic is as absorbing for the character sketches, which are identifiable, and the marvelous story telling, which draws so well from a compelling author.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I've never been into Hollywood hype...,
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Do you like the movie or the message?,
All in all, after speaking with friends about this movie, I have found that many people like the message "greed + ambition = evil" more than the movie itself. However, this message is only part of the movie because it would be just as easy to view the opposite message that all the honest people eventually end up getting the raw end of the deal "honesty = foolishness"?. Everyone appears to be miserable in this movie with no consistent message as everyone seems to be just as miserable before industrialization than after.
In the end, after the movie was over, I wasn't moved, intrigued, or impressed. My first thoughts were "great acting by Daniel Day-Lewis, cool soundtrack, nice landscapes and dark imagery, and interesting vignettes of the zeitgeist of the early 20th century oil craze (hopefully it is somewhat accurate)".
In summary, I can find intellectual reasons why this movie is good. However, it didn't stir up any intense feelings nor did it send me on a long thinking binge. Consequently, I can say that this movie is "good" and "worth seeing", but I can't say that it is "great" and a "must see".
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A 21st century masterpiece,
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This review is from: There Will Be Blood [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)There are many things one could say to praise this magnificent film. That Daniel Day-Lewis is incredible in his role. That the film looks amazing. That it has an original, interesting story... the list could go on. Many critics have named this film one of the best--if not the best--of the first decade of this century. I certainly agree. Just buy this film. It gets richer every time one sees it and looks spectacular on Blu-ray.
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There Will Be Blood [Blu-ray] by Paul Thomas Anderson (Blu-ray - 2008)