← Back to Reviews

There Will Be Blood

will begin with one i watched over christmas. this was a first-time viewing. i've gotten so wrapped up the last few years in doing my best to familiarize myself with the classics, that i've slacked on some of the more recent ones

i like to think of myself as an oil man

There Will Be Blood
(Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007)

A story of family, religion, hatred, oil and madness,
focusing on a turn-of-the-century prospector
in the early days of the business


had to let this one soak in for a few days before posting about it. finally got around to seeing this Paul Thomas Anderson - Daniel Day-Lewis triumph. the viewing was long overdue, and due to that, much of what i say may have already been said and repeated a thousand times by those who have discussed and reviewed this film. for this i apologize in advance. i am admittedly way late to this party

Daniel Day-Lewis truly dominated this picture. Together with Paul Thomas Anderson's writing and direction, they both pretty much drink all our milkshakes. I was amazed at how Daniel Plainview's calm salesman manner of speaking almost sounded like oil filtering through his rig

There Will Be Blood stands plenty well enough on its own. That said, a lot of it oozed Kubrick to me. That shot of the bowling alley transported me instantly to something you'd see in the Shining or a Clockwork Orange

on top of that, some of the broader themes also remind me of the Shining. Daniel Plainview is corrupted by the oil, Jack Torrance is corrupted by the Overlook Hotel. HW, Plainview's adopted son, is the lone source of hope and optimism in the film. He overcomes his limitations in hearing by learning sign language. HW manages to escape Daniel Plainview's murderous wrath to start his own oil rig in Mexico. & i believe HW learned a lot from watching Daniel's oil drilling over the years, despite his hearing disadvantages. also, i found the side story - with the little girl who grows up, stays faithful, and marries HW - to be incredibly and profoundly sweet... in an otherwise relentless tale of greed and destruction. Danny, Jack Torrance's little boy, also represents the source of hope and optimism in his ability to 'shine'.. seeing past, present and future events, and communicating telepathically with the cook. HW Plainview and Danny Torrance, the little boys, both the sources for optimism in otherwise bleak and relentlessly brutal narratives.

another similarity i sensed. Before seeing the Shining, i of course knew about the 'Here's Johnny' scene. it's so iconic and plastered everywhere including the DVD/Blu-Ray case and the image of Jack through the door looms so large... that i was suprised once i finally saw the Shining that there were a whole bunch of moments i liked more than that scene

& before seeing There Will Be Blood, the 'I Drink Your Milkshake' looms so large... that i was surprised to find other moments in the movie i liked more. when Daniel Plainview reveals to Henry, his supposed brother,

'there are times when i look at people and i see nothing worth liking,'

i thought that was the most honest moment of the film for the character Daniel. He so wanted someone to open up to, that he believed this man was his brother with little proof. but the best moment in the film for me, was this

on the surface, it looks like the character Daniel Plainview is just hamming it up so he can appease the landowner and run his oil pipeline through his land. yea, that was why Plainview reduced himself to confessing on his knees. sure he only went through with it to get what he wants. my take, though, is that the confession itself is genuine. ... i think there's a little more to Daniel Plainview. yes he becomes consumed with his greed ultimately, but somewhere inside i think he feels some connection with the boy HW, however warped it is. otherwise he would have just killed him like he did Henry (the not-brother) and Eli (the priest)

Conclusion: There Will Be Blood is how movies should be made these days. While it comes a tad short of the timeless all-time greats in my view, it's still really damn good. I think it's better than anything Nolan has done, and that's no insult. I also think it's better than anything Tarantino has done. Daniel Day-Lewis has been the best actor around dating back to 1989 and My Left Foot, another great film. And this is to me his best movie yet that I have seen. my one criticism is that Daniel Day-Lewis dominates the screen too much. He drinks all the other actor's milkshakes. And kind of lords over the whole picture, dwarfing everyone else into insignificance. But that doesn't stop it from being very good

+ (8.5/10)

soon, i'll be traveling back in time again for the next three movies here in my Reflections... three classic hits i will be watching for the first time. one from the 1930's, two from the 1950's