8 out of 10
Reviewing ‘There Will Be Blood’ and ‘No Country for Old Men’ together may have been a bad idea… they’re both pretty similar and to me, both equally enjoyable… but which one drinks the other one’s milkshake? (watch the movie and you’ll know.)
Oil man Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day Lewis) , with the help of his inherited son H.W, develop their oil business in a small village in Little Boston. However, religious fanatic, but suspiciously self-interested Eli (Paul Dano) comes at odds with Plainview’s industry, throwing conflict after conflict at Plainview’s spiral into dangerous greed.
As a biopic, There Will Be Blood is like an artistic painting that takes 3 hours to fully realise. The performances are incredible, director Paul Anderson may be the painter, but Day Lewis, as he is in most of his performances, is the canvas; he holds the movie together with an unrecognisable performance of Plainview, nailing the insanely complex character and fuelling the ambiguity of the entire movie. Dano is good too, particularly passionate in his sermons, showing the range of emotions Anderson splashes onto his piece.
For a 3 hour dialogue-heavy movie, There Will Be Blood largely holds attention. The majority of the movie is so well written, exploring Plainview’s mixed morals and zeal for earning money as well as Eli’s unclear loves, himself or God? The two are clear opposites, but also clear similar figures. The movie’s themes are ambiguous, leading to so many interpretations, such as loss, the American Dream, that we never really know who is the bad guy and that’s what makes the movie so good. However, maybe it’s just me, or maybe the writers got bored in the middle act, but it does start to drag. The whole half an hour/ 45 minutes of Plainview meeting his brother seemed stretched to me, though necessary, but perhaps could have been a little more interesting so it didn’t tempt me to stop watching, in which case I’d have missed the brilliant ending.
The ending really hits home the movie, taking place in Plainview’s own bowling alley, maybe Anderson rounds off such a serious film with the non-serious location, revealing the farcical motivations Plainview has turned to, then again maybe that’s what I think, and so we get the beauty of the movie.
Without Day Lewis, I have a feeling this wouldn’t have been so good. He does steal the show, he’s the character that made me want to watch the movie, he’s the character I will remember and he’s the only character I was really only interested in watching during. A very, very good movie… but not perfect.
Complex, thrilling but slightly strenuous to get through, There Will be Blood is an artistic accomplishment and a great, but not perfect movie. A delicious milkshake, but a bit too filling to try again any time soon.