If you checked my profile, you may notice that I have a link to my Letterboxd account. As my exams are wrapping up in a few days, I shall be re-posting my older reviews from Letterboxd. No worries, new reviews will come in due time.
There Will Be Blood, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, tells the story of Daniel Plainview, an oilman during the days when oil was new and men still had mustaches. One day, a person named Paul Sunday comes to him and says that his property has oil. Daniel decides to take his son H.W. to the property and check it out. What follows is a tale of faith, wealth, and of course, oil.
I have heard many things about this film before I watched it. How it is regarded as one of the best films of the 00’s, Daniel Day-Lewis and the milkshake, all that stuff, so I had my doubts, since these promises rarely pay off-Frank comes into mind. Well, after watching this film and glaring at its absolutely beautiful poster, I can happily say that this film is one of the exceptions.
While this film is undoubtedly an epic, its not an epic in the traditional sense. It doesn’t have lavish sets or thousands of extras. It’s not Cleopatra or Ben-Hur is what I basically mean. What defines it as an epic, then? Well, several things.
First off, the audio, or if we will be more specific, the sound mixing and music. The sound mixing is…I don’t even know how to define it. Paul Thomas Anderson just puts the right amount of wooden creaks and clothing ruffling to truly make you feel as though you are a part of a world long since past. The music by Jonny Greenwood too adds to the atmosphere, adding the right amount of strings into the score. This film made me realize how much I missed bombastic orchestral scores in films.
Next, the visuals. Coming back to PTA, his direction is spectacular in this film. He knows when to just let the camera stay still and when to pick it up and run around with it. I would call it Spielberg-esque, since it feels like a Spielberg film, but no, it’s PTA-esque, and I love it because of that.
Lastly, Daniel Day-Lewis as Daniel Plainview. Day-Lewis’ method acting is not unknown in the film world, and if Gangs of New Yorkdid not prove to you that this guy can act, than this film is the one for you. I mean, you do not see Daniel Day-Lewis, an actor in this film, you see Daniel Plainview, an oilman and family man, who kicks religion in the face just to see it squirm. The rest of the cast is very good as well, but Day-Lewis not just overshadows them, he freaking descends eternal darkness upon them. He is the oil to this derrick.
In conclusion, There Will Be Blood is the film that everybody says it is. This movie proves that PTA has ‘it’, and that you don’t need hundred-million-dollar budgets to make an epic, only brilliant visuals, brilliant audio, and a damn brilliant actor.