Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis), a former silver prospector, makes it big when he switches to digging for oil instead of in the Californian badlands’ pre-industrial era. He’s made a name for himself but is constantly being hounded by competitors everywhere with the boom of the oil digging era in America.
He gets visited by a strange young man who tells him of a massive untapped area in California where oil is seeping from the ground. After paying the young man, he moves to the area and finds the biggest oil reserve ever tapped in American soil, forever changing his life for the better and worst.
The story alone in this film is worth the price of admission. There’s never a dull moment in the movie, even though it’s really just following the life of an old prospector in the paper. But each scene is just dripping with drama and tension that you will certainly want to find out each of the main characters’ fates in the film.
Think of this film as a Western period version of the film adaptation for major scandals such as ‘The Wolf of Wall Street,’ ‘Moneyball,’ and even ‘The Big Short.’ The storyline interweaves Daniel’s trials and tribulations with the amount of corruption and cutthroat practices of Capitalism.
Even with all of that being said, it’s hard to hate anyone in this movie. Each character has their personal motivations and goals that make them do what they do; everyone is surprisingly human and contributes to this plot’s overall drive that moves across decades.
Daniel Day-Lewis’ delivery of his lines is so poignant and well-executed you can not help but praise the well written script that allowed him to demonstrate his best work. The movie is strewn with quotable one-liners that impressively add depth and color to the characters saying the lines.
Props should be given to writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson for this impressive screenplay adaptation from a 1920’s novel. He did a great job of modernizing this classic masterpiece of American novel writing.
Characters and acting
Finally, we’re on the main attraction of this entire film. Daniel Day-Lewis’ portrayal of Daniel Plainview garnered him his third Oscar for Best Actor, and he is the only actor in history to have accomplished this feat, putting him on the pinnacle of the best actors to have ever done it.
Personally, we’ve only watched him in the Gangs of New York, but his performance in that movie was more than enough to make us love him.
This brings us to why we love Daniel-Day Lewis; he is one of the most infamous and committed method actors in the world, and with his trend of playing mostly characters from earlier times, and in this film, his dedication to his craft truly as he easily showcases the skills of the early oil diggers.
Props should also be given to Paul Dano, who portrayed Elijah Sunday, one of the movie’s antagonists. He magnificently pulls off the demented religious cult leader who tried to leech off of Daniel Plainview. His sermons and performance in the final scene should have been deserving of an Oscar award all on its own.
Music and cinematography
The music was the most surprising part of watching this film. Most of the film’s score was composed by Radiohead’s guitarist, Jonny Greenwood, who did a magical job in adding the backing music for the scenes and earned a Grammy nomination for “Best Score Soundtrack Album for Motion Picture.”
Jonny masterfully combined classic with the grit, tone, and anxiety of his modern style. When his songs are being played in the movie, you can expect that something big and something bad will happen in the next scene.
The visual aesthetic in the movie is just pure eye candy. Paul Thomas Anderson exactly knew how to capture early America’s loneliness while maintaining a sense of danger and chaos amidst the turmoil of trying to dig for oil. Every second of his gripping music never fails to bring chills to my spine and fear in my heart.
We would also like to say how much of a good job the set designers did on this film. From the wooden oil rigs down to the logbooks that the smelters use to note how much metal was inside a rock, the film showcase a variety of essential tools that prospectors used during that time and offers a rare glimpse into the early pioneers of America.
And the gorgeous backdrops of rural California was such a sight to behold; it gave us a sense of the beauty behind the danger of living in such sordid times. No wonder westerners were such a fad during the early fifties down to the late nineties.
There Will Be Blood is a great reminder to all movie executives to never underestimate a movie just because it doesn’t have non-stop explosive action, an A-list cast of bankable actors, nor a relatable modern script. This movie shall forever be in the annals of the hall of fame with its outstanding performance from one of the most legendary actors of all time.
Anyone who loves the art of acting should definitely watch this as Daniel Day-Lewis gives off a monumental performance that shall forever resonate in history. Don’t be one of the poor souls who haven’t been able to see this movie.