When the closing credits started rolling on “There Will Be Blood,” I was not sure how to take this movie.
Honestly, days later I still don’t. I wanted to see this movie to watch Daniel Day-Lewis’s performance, but I wasn’t attracted to the rest of the plot. Its major theme, oil and the greed that come along with it are not things that spark my movie going interest.
While I thought “There Will Be Blood” was a wonderful film, I don’t know if I liked it.
Loosely based upon the 1927 novel “Oil!” by Upton Sinclair, Paul Thomas Anderson wrote and directed a finely crafted movie about one man’s obsession with gaining money and his hatred for most of humankind, including a young preacher who hides his nefarious motives behind religion.
In the silence of the first half hour of the movie, the viewers get a glimpse of what kind of man Daniel Plainview (Day-Lewis) is. While working alone to wrest silver from the earth, he falls down the shaft and breaks his leg. That would spell doom for most men at the turn of the century, but not him. He meticulously lifts himself out of the shaft, crawls across the deserted landscape and cases in his finding for money, which funds his new oil company.
When an accident befalls one of the workers of his company, he sees his empire expand by taking the deceased man’s infant boy (the mother died in childbirth). That small boy will give him “family appeal” when he goes to different towns to sell them on giving up their lands so he can drill for oil.
When Plainview gets a tip from a mysterious stranger, Paul Sunday, on where he can find an ocean of oil, he and his son H.W. (Dillon Freasier) set off to work their magic.
At the town where the ocean of oil is located, he meets the rest of the Sunday family, including Paul’s twin brother Eli, the aspiring preacher who wants prestige in the village and money. Paul Dano, of “Little Miss Sunshine,” plays the twins. Originally, Dano was to fill the smaller role as the Sunday brother, but the actor who was to play the larger part of Eli dropped out before filming started. Extremely wise choice to make Paul and Eli twins, mainly because of Dano’s portrayal of the preacher. He makes Isaac Chroner of “Children of the Corn” (1984) sound completely sane.
For the rest of the movie, Eli and Plainview go after each other until the last minute of the film. Before that, they each get the other to make startling revelations that they don’t want to admit to anyone. Eli Sunday gets Plainview to admit to his abandonment of his son after he becomes deaf, and in turn, Plainview gets the preacher to admit his misdeeds before the final scene. In the grand scheme of the movie, I don’t think the ending makes a bunch of sense. That could be why my mind isn’t made up about this movie.
There are many perfect things about “There Will Be Blood.” Paul Thomas Anderson made his best movie; the cinematography was beautiful; the score by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood was haunting and the performance by Daniel Day-Lewis was remarkable. With that said, there is something about this movie that leaves me unfulfilled. Was it the lack of humanity shown by Daniel Plainview throughout this movie? There were scenes of tenderness with H.W, but his last scene with his son had me cringing in my seat. Was it the oil and greed plot? I honestly have no clue.
It didn’t leave me all aflutter like “Into the Wild” or “No Country for Old Men” did, but there is a piece of my movie-going heart that both loves and loathes “There Will Be Blood.”
I gave this film a B+.
Dedra Cordle is a Messenger staff writer.