THERE WILL BE BLOOD: There May Be Oscars!
THERE WILL BE BLOOD (drama)
Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Mary Elizabeth Barrett, Paul Dano, Dillon Freasier and Christine Olejniczak.
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Time: 158 mins
Rating: * * * 1/2 (out of 4)
WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL? When you acquire instant wealth, there are bound to be long lost relatives who show up out of nowhere, along with others, wanting a slice of your fortune. And when the stakes are as high as those involving oil money, it just means there’s going to be a fight and you can bet that there will be blood…
WHAT’S IT ABOUT? Adapted loosely from the novel, Oil!, by Uptown Sinclair, this is an epic tale of family, faith, power and greed set on the incendiary frontier of California's oil boom circa 1910. The story chronicles the life of Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis, pic), who transforms himself from a poor gold miner, raising a son on his own, into an oil tycoon.
When Plainview gets a mysterious tip-off that there's a little town out West where oil is oozing out of the ground, he heads there with his son, H.W. (Dillon Freasier), to take their chances in dust-swept place called Little Boston. In this tough and difficult land, where the main excitement centres around the holy roller church of charismatic preacher Eli Sunday (Paul Dano), Plainview and H.W. make their lucky strike. However, even as the oil find raises all of their fortunes, nothing will remain the same as conflicts escalate and every human value - love, hope, community, belief, ambition and even the bond between father and son - is imperiled by corruption, deception and greed.
HITS & MISSES: With an intense performance by Day-Lewis as the lead, this movie is invariably a character study. Day-Lewis’ Plainview is a mass of contradictions: he is charismatic, ugly, ruthless, silver-tongued, plain-spoken, gentle and violent. He's smart and understands how to manipulate every situation to his advantage. However, as he gets more and more engrossed in wealth and power, he becomes more psychotic and evil – and all the money he has amassed does him no good. Day-Lewis brings out this tragedy in Plainview in another Oscar-worthy performance.
Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, this movie reminds us of the James Dean’s 1956 classic, “Giant”, which also deals with oil and greed and is an easier movie to watch. However, “There Will Be Blood” is arguably the best of Anderson’s works. It is a consummate work of art. It reveals and excites, disturbs and provokes – and lays bare the human consciousness itself.
THE LOWDOWN: Watching Day-Lewis’ performance here is worth the price of the ticket.