Friday, 8 February 2013

FILM: There Will Be Blood (9/10)

Why did I watch it?
A more appropriate question would be 'how has it taken me so long to watch this?'. I've had this on DVD for several years, read positive review after positive review but I never found the time.....until now.

What's it all about?
Daniel Day-Lewis is Daniel Plainview, a determined and ruthless Californian oil driller, out for his piece of the freshly baked oil pie at the turn of the 19th century. Having unintentionally struck oil when mining for silver, the opening act shows Plainview building a steady portfolio of oil claims across California, unafraid of shamelessly using his adopted son to present the image of a family business. Following a tip, Plainview purchases claims for a large expanse of land where he clashes with a local pastor (Paul Dano) in his unquenchable thirst for oil.  

Should you watch it?
Where to start, on the first viewing There Will Be Blood has comfortably become one of my favourite films of all time. From the dialogue-free 15 minute opening of Plainview mining alone, to the intense and violent conclusion, There Will Be Blood is unrelenting. You cannot take your eyes off Daniel Day-Lewis. He is quite simply fantastic as the fiery, vengeful and driven oilman and deserved his . Plainview becomes so dislikeable he is likeable, and I found myself routing for him, after all he is the film. The scenes between pastor Eli and Daniel, in particular the two where each humiliates the other, are worth the price of admission alone.

Maybe I'm biased, maybe Daniel Day-Lewis is one of my favourite actors, maybe because I work in the oil industry the film's subject appeals to me more, maybe great shots of drilling derricks and flaming oil gushers set against the American West just do it for me. Or maybe not, maybe Paul Thomas Anderson has just created a truly great film, full of memorable images and lines. Although central to the film, the themes of religion and capitalism are allowed to exist without heavy handed interference from Anderson. Ultimately, neither come out of the other side smelling of roses.

The reason this film only scores 9/10 is due to the score. Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood is responsible for the score which Tarantino complimented as "one of the great modern original soundtracks of the last decade" but it just didn't agree with me.

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