“There Will Be Blood” was Boringly Fascinating

Genres: Drama and Adaptation
Running Time:
2 hrs. 38 min.
Release Date: December 26th, 2007 (limited)
MPAA Rating: R for some violence.
Distributors: Paramount Vantage, Miramax International

Directed by: Paul Thomas Anderson

JJ Rating: B+

Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) goes from a lowly silver miner to an oil manipulator. He takes his son, H.W. (Dillon Freasier), to a small town where he was given a tip about a sea of oil. Daniel ends up having an odd and crazy relationship with Eli Sunday (Paul Dano) who is the preacher of the church like cult. The film shows Daniel’s fortunes and misfortunes of his life; what he gets and trades for oil. There Will Be Blood.

I very much dislike the beginning. For the first twenty minutes I was in an out of sleep because of the lack of talking and the lack of anything remotely exciting. I couldn’t care less for what was going on. There is a massive amount of time that passes by before the first line is uttered. I would like to understand the thinking behind that. If it was for me to take a little nap then it succeeded.

The script (once the lines started coming) was amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Dano when they had scenes together. Every single scene that they were in with one another was outstanding. They have great hate chemistry. I could feel the animosity that was between the characters when one entered the realm of the other. Their facial expressions would alter and mannerisms would change and their voices would have an interesting inflection.

Day-Lewis is fantastic. He plays his character with such care and finesse that he was Daniel Plainview and no one could deny it. He was borderline over the top. If he pushed a little more with how he was acting he would almost become a cartoon. He balanced it just right. He had a scene where he was describing how he doesn’t like people and his character was likable that even that made it hard to dislike him, but it was a funny moment as were most of his scenes. The scenes were his when he was in them. There was no need to pay attention to anyone else, except when he was in a scene with Dano, and then it was a battle of who should garner the most attention.

Dano delivers his lines with calmness at the beginning, but when he has a scene in the church he explodes and shows what his character was all about. It had me laughing and oddly thrilled. It was exciting in a freaky I’m glad I don’t go to church kind of way. He also has a scene where he was eating dinner with his family. When he starts an argument the lines are just funny in a dry manner.

The director, Paul Thomas Anderson, pulled out some great acting from not only Day-Lewis and Dano but Dillon Freasier who played H.W. Daniel’s son. That boy has his own shining moments. He deserves to be thanked as well as the director for bring out that greatness on screen. Russell Harvard, he played the adult H.W., does a good job with the scene he has. I love the camera work because it was not normal. The camera focused on the other person who was listening, sometimes, more so than the person talking and that was what made the scene with the adult H.W. interesting. Harvard did a great job handling the scene with Day-Lewis. Talking about camera work there is a moment with a reunion and instead of focusing on them closely when they encounter one another the camera holds back at a long shot, and it’s amazing how much better that was than the normal close up.

There Will Be Blood is not a movie that I would ever think I’d actually really love and the beginning kills me with the silence, but maybe if I watch it again I can appreciate it. So I’ll just ignore that minor annoyance. I really enjoyed the humor that was peppered throughout the movie. There were funny moments that were in serious times, it was an interesting dark comedic twist that I found unexpected.

I have this love for dark comedies so that aspect made me like it more than I had thought I would. With that in mind there is a possibility that I might decide to buy There Will Be Blood. Who will like it? That’s a toss up. This movie is on the slow side, so if you don’t really like slow movies at all then you should skip this one. If you’ve liked slow movies in the past you might just like this one. Daniel Day-Lewis does make it worth the money to see. He is one of those awesome actors. He is the reason that I believe that There Will Be Blood was boringly fascinating.

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