There Will Be Blood

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Drama

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Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>5</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
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Time Out says

Mon Feb 4 2008

We begin down a hole. It’s 1898 in the Southern Californian desert and Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) is a lithe, daddy-long-legs of a man, a lone-gun silver prospector whose tools, as he scratches around in the dark, are a pickaxe, a rope, some dynamite and sheer will. The scene, like many in the film, is gruelling, elemental, horrific even.

He falls, breaks his leg and gains a limp that will stay with him for the rest of this bold, epic film. We hop forward to 1902, and Plainview is digging again, only now he’s on the hunt for something else: oil. He strikes black and brandishes his filthy hands to his accomplices. The dirt under his nails is a badge of honour, and one never to be removed; he wears it years later, even when he’s moping around a mansion, his mind driven loopy by success and paranoia.

Another hop and it’s 1911, and we reach the meat of the movie. A smarter Plainview, a fedora on his brow, is in the shadows of a meeting of folk in Little Boston, California on whose land he wants to dig. ‘I’m an oil man…’ he implores, the first noise we hear from his mouth, not a word wasted, barely a breath not invested in his success. His voice is simple but mellifluous, its stresses and dips unusual but alluring. It’s the first hint in this long, odd and stunning film that this character – this wicked creation, this symbol of a nation, this quiet monster – will lodge in your psyche long after the movie cuts dead on an ending that’s strange and sudden, irritating and pleasing.

On one level, Plainview is a pure businessman – ruthless, self-centred, adaptable. On another, he’s a mystery – sexless, rootless, unfathomable, silent. The questions roll off the screen. Does he care for his adopted son, HW (Dillon Freasier) or does he see him only as a useful face to have around during negotiations? Are we meant to root for Plainview’s individualist tendencies against the expansion of the Standard and Union oil companies? No – as soon as the film hints this is going to be the tale of an underdog, Plainview does something awful. Faceless, corporate behaviour begins to look benign. On yet another level, Plainview reflects, then and now, the power of the church; it’s a local pastor, Eli Sunday (a wily Paul Dano) who leads him to the loot. It’s the same pastor whose pockets he must line and religion he must embrace.

This is Paul Thomas Anderson’s foundation myth – taken from Upton Sinclair’s 1927 novel ‘Oil!’, which in turn was inspired by men like Edward Doheny, the oil man who went from rags to riches and died in 1935 in the same mansion where Anderson shot his final scenes. Anderson’s story is precisely dated, stretching from 1898 to 1927, and mostly lingers around 1911 as Plainview builds a gushing derrick.

But the beginning of his film feels like the beginning of the world for all its sense that nothing came before. Anderson is arguing that this chasm in the earth, and similar chasms, were the birthplace of America. Little Boston becomes a theatre for his Genesis, or for Exodus, from which the film takes its name. It’s stressed by the primal buzz of Jonny Greenwood’s wonderful score that’s set to the film’s first image of a barren hillside.

Day-Lewis’s performance is as good as the awards suggest: it’s big, it’s wild, yet it’s also restrained by the sparing talk of his character and framed by a film whose ambitions are bigger than his acting. That Anderson, the film’s writer-director, whose ‘Boogie Nights’ was a riot but ‘Magnolia’ and ‘Punch-Drunk Love’ both noble failures, has come to make this intelligent and enthralling masterpiece is both a little surprising and intensely satisfying.

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Release details

UK release:

Fri Feb 8, 2008

Cast and crew

Music:

Jonny Greenwood

Cast:

Paul Dano, Kevin J O'Connor, Ciarán Hinds, Dillon Freasier, Daniel Day-Lewis

Cinematography:

Robert Elswit

Production Designer:

Jack Fisk

Screenwriter:

Paul Thomas Anderson

Editor:

Dylan Tichenor

Director:

Paul Thomas Anderson

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

3.9 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:22
  • 4 star:4
  • 3 star:11
  • 2 star:3
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|66
1 person listening
lexie

I have only just got around to seeing this movie, and based on some of the comments above, I can only assume they weren't paying attention, or aren't intelligent enough to watch a film like this. Why give it 3 stars if you think it was the most boring film you've ever seen..... There Will Be Blood gets you slowly but surely, I must admit 15 minutes in I was wondering where it was all going - but it creeps up on you and by the end has you hook, line and sinker. DDL is a brilliant actor, and he does a great job of a complex character (as always). I disagree that the last scene is drawn out.. I think it was a great example of a man believing his own worth, his own hype, his own importance, finally believing that he was akin to God. Do not watch this movie if you have something else on your mind, you will miss the point, but if you let yourself be absorbed into Plainview's world for a couple of hours, you won't be disappointed

lexie

I have only just got around to seeing this movie, and based on some of the comments above, I can only assume they weren't paying attention, or aren't intelligent enough to watch a film like this. Why give it 3 stars if you think it was the most boring film you've ever seen..... There Will Be Blood gets you slowly but surely, I must admit 15 minutes in I was wondering where it was all going - but it creeps up on you and by the end has you hook, line and sinker. DDL is a brilliant actor, and he does a great job of a complex character (as always). I disagree that the last scene is drawn out.. I think it was a great example of a man believing his own worth, his own hype, his own importance, finally believing that he was akin to God. Do not watch this movie if you have something else on your mind, you will miss the point, but if you let yourself be absorbed into Plainview's world for a couple of hours, you won't be disappointed

dikran

How he goes from rugged individualist to rotting, soulless millionaire. Why can't Che run a country? The type A personality. Who is more driven than the miserable? Tiger Woods, Richard Nixon. "Unhappy the Land that has no hero? No. Unhappy the land that needs a hero." Bert Brecht in Galileo. And if wretched men like Plainview did not exist? More living native Americans and fewer women burnt at Salem. The man is not a "rugged individualist" he's just in an agony that fuels his life. Great movie. The real John Wayne.

dikran

How he goes from rugged individualist to rotting, soulless millionaire. Why can't Che run a country? The type A personality. Who is more driven than the miserable? Tiger Woods, Richard Nixon. "Unhappy the Land that has no hero? No. Unhappy the land that needs a hero." Bert Brecht in Galileo. And if wretched men like Plainview did not exist? More living native Americans and fewer women burnt at Salem. The man is not a "rugged individualist" he's just in an agony that fuels his life. Great movie. The real John Wayne.

Popcorn

Think of a bunsen-burner burning in a vacuum. Think of an oilman vs a snakeoil salesman. Think of acting as impersonation. Think of John Huston in Chinatown. Replace an orange grove with a desert. Replace water with oil. Think of the audience as prospectors,digging Drilling for the epiphany through the arduous minutes and hours. Think of all the props-minor characters,cinematography, industrial music,storyline then kick them away as a trickle becomes a geyser to pick up awards.

Technoguy

Very slow at times.Of course prospecting for oil,building oil derricks,digging the earth and buillding cabins and extracting oil is a lonely,long,sweat-inducing experience.But...there was not enough tension or dramatic contrast or dynamic interaction between groups of characters.All the other characters outside Plainview's(DDL) including adopted son and Pastor were more like props to set the story up,one dimensional in itself,so that the 'oil' of Day-Lewis's acting can spew forth from the admittedly brilliant cinematography and material stagecraft and wide open vistas.Day-Lewis's acting is so intense,pressured and theatrical but I couldn't get away from an impression of John Huston in 'Chinatown',which DDL was aware of. This diminished it for me and the lack of female characters to leaven the heavy dough of the performance.There seemed lots missing from the story- line as no doubt there was. I believe lots about unionism and communism which would have balanced the somewhat singular individualism of Plainview.I saw it on DVD and was more impressed by the montage of early 20th century photographs and moving documentary images in the extra'15 minutes'. Now that would have made a great documentary!

Sean Ellis

I went to see this at a festival with high expectations. I've always been a fan of Daniel Day-Lewis and have seen enough of Paul Thomas Anderson's films to expect something bold and ambitious. There is a great deal to admire about the film, particularly its achievement in creating a sense of time and place. In the early stages, I felt that we were being set up for an exploration of the entwinement of capitalism and religion and a great character study. But, ultimately I felt that the film failed quite spectacularly in achieving its potential. Day-Lewis attended the screening that I was at and spoke afterwards about the experience of making the film and praised the director for allowing his cast free reign to improvise and develop their characters. I think that such an approach can yield interesting results, but I think that it is the downfall of this film. For me, there are several moments in the film where I became aware that I was watching ACTING, instead of being absorbed in the story and watching the characters react naturally to the situation. This created a theatrical feeling to the performances, which seems to be very good for winning awards, but actually hurts the film as a whole. For me, the final scene was is the worst example of this, where the overacting is allowed to get totally out of control, killing off any chance of subtelty. Ultimately, there was little complexity to ponder or insight to be derived, in spite of all the technical bravura on display.

usman khawaja

there will be blood ,maybe guts but there shall be no brains . this is a classic example of executing an errand worth a few minutes in a few hours and it begins to tell on your nerves or what is left of them at 3 mind and butt numbing hours,and yes most pretentious american directors LIKE ANDERSON are making movies without female presence forgetting that cinema is a reflection of life and you cannot make credible movies without somehow representing the opposite sex ,this movie has no feminine roles ,it implicitly refers to lewis character as frequenting brothels and being a man of sin ,but we dont ever see any wench in his life ,most sensitivity and dynamic power in a drama or reality is derived from the frailty of the opposite sex ,though it might be called the weaker sex but everything from mona lisa to death of a virgin by caravaggio that is labelled as great art ,from all about eve to gone with the wind has one singular plot in common-a strong central woman to make it great ART AND THAT is essential maybe that is why movies like NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN AND this rather rumbling and ranting bull fall flat on their face as they celebrate power without emotion ,reducing them to a burlesque state and their subjects rendered fake and worth mockery,there is a clear oppurtunity to indulge in melodrama here and anderson takes that full on with hilarious results ,the script is humorless and its clear his son who appears with him in deadpan ,monotonous speeches throughout is clearly neglected and being used as a to entice a family image for business expansion ,as for his so called wife or whores ,we never get to indulge in their sight,but he does cry for a brother we have or even he has never set sight on , bizarrely he kills only 2 souls who virtually are both deserving of their fate ,so if he is evil then he is redeeemed indeed as he has a good enough excuse for murder and his end state suggests lunacy which will be reason enough to justify any act BUT LUNATICS they all are from the priest of the flock to the son ,from miners to the butlers and from blundering fathers to abusinve sons who are all sufferring in a stark ,naked landscape resembling the purgatory , the movies other protagonist is an impassioned evangelical priest who damns lewis even before the poor man has a chance to open his mouth ,he then rants and ramps for the rest of the movie reducing some scenes to almost senseless comic detail .religion is not as awful as mr.anderson is viewing it in this biased manner ,it has its place but in this movie every soul is black ,just because it is about oil,we have devil worshippers around every nook and corner ,and if that is not a clich ,then please remind me of a bigger stereotype . this is overwritten with scenes and dialogues that reverberate persistently and under-edited to the point where a simple scene of an oilman descending into a well can consume half the time god has given to us mortals in this measly life .the pace is not slack ,its like a dead horse with flies buzzing over the corpse and no one can flag a dead horse to life .even mr day lewis is not a magician ,just a sincere actor and he delivers the goods to the best effect he can muster ,but that is simply not enough as if the movie already is not metaphorical enough ,the message is not subtle here it is rammed down our throats like the IRAQ WAR ,leaving no doubt about its immorality as conceived by its creators ,whether it be makers or politicians ,the parable about oil is of course reminiscent of this infamous conflict and RELIGION comes in with all its glory in the form of church to remind us of the CRUSADES ,popes and presidents of today and yeteryears ,for if the persian gulf has the black gold raining all over it ,then this movie is showered with its own excretions in the form of spewing dialogue full of venom and unnecessary ranting which borders onto pantomime and DANIEL DAY LEWIS IS very good BUT HE is covered in so much muck and the movie is so devoid of light , to render him almost invisible at times , the comparisons with GEORGE STEVENS GIANT are incomparable as that movie still will be my choice to watch and the great act by james dean is still more rewarding then this hokum. its worth seeing for amazing cinemato graphy ,particularly the oil drilling sequences and days great act as well as the finale which was good but not great ,but the middle half just sags into a dreadful monotone just like the son who goes deaf from the oil well exploding ,which is captured beautifully by the camera ,but i think the plot and script are definitely flawed with the characters too. as there is no redemption for anyone -them or the audience with a cliched plot and political religious satire gone awry

triff

Fantastic film, quite mesmerising, those who can't manage 2 1/2 hours of brilliant acting and evocation of a legendary time should stay home and watch the tv. Movies set in the gold rush are 10 a penny, how often do you see one about oil, the root of all evil?

triff

Fantastic film, quite mesmerising, those who can't manage 2 1/2 hours of brilliant acting and evocation of a legendary time should stay home and watch the tv. Movies set in the gold rush are 10 a penny, how often do you see one about oil, the root of all evil?

Alex

This film was a mixture of compelling and unsatisfying for me. DDL does carry off the unremitting tunnel vision of the central character, who is as remorseless and parched as the mojave desert where a lot of the action takes place. The cinematography is beautiful. Successfully charts the soulless obsession with wealth which formed the bedrock of America - kind of Citizen Kane territory but without the twist which gave CK its moral depth. In fact the storyline is ultimately one-dimentional. The bloody denouemont is just more of the same and left me feeling I had been given little insight intoany of the characters, and certainly little sympathy.

san isidro

Saw this film yesterday & still have mixed feelings. On one hand,DDL was mesmerising,and watching his slide into madness & paranoia was rivetting,but it was slow & ponderous & and didn't adequately explain why he had to enact his vengeance on people who went against him. a film to stay in your mind,but was creepily morbid.

tcd

An outstanding, thoughtful film which will qualify as 'shit' for those with one brain cell

tcd

An outstanding, thoughtful film which will qualify as 'shit' for those with one brain cell

lynda

I saw this film today and thought that the visual and audio effects were wonderful, lead role acting was fab. Thought provoking undertones, prompts "be careful what you wish for"

lynda

I saw this film today and thought that the visual and audio effects were wonderful, lead role acting was fab. Thought provoking undertones, prompts "be careful what you wish for"

David

DDL was superb, lots of other good acting as well, camera work was often great and some really well thought out scenes. I certainly didn't think it was boring, though I can understand why many people found it 'slow'. But I just felt there was something not right about the story line - especially the ending. I didn't think at the end of the day it was primarily about power, drive, wealth, pioneering, the forging of US identity... but actually about Plainview's mental illness. How else can you explain his brutal, 'sick' behaviour? Yet somehow that doesnt really get explored at all... I found that very frustrating.

SK

I saw this with my wife and another couple; the girls absolutely hated it and we lads loved it. One of the strongest, most engrossing, powerrful movies I have seen in years. Truly moving performance from DDL. There's so much in the story on so many levels - those who complain it's slow, miss the point, you feel like the Plainview character might... lonely betrayed driven greedy hugely successful yet ultimately, it all was futile as he's so so empty and unhappy despite all the success. Reminiscent of Scarface, another great film....

SK

I saw this with my wife and another couple; the girls absolutely hated it and we lads loved it. One of the strongest, most engrossing, powerrful movies I have seen in years. Truly moving performance from DDL. There's so much in the story on so many levels - those who complain it's slow, miss the point, you feel like the Plainview character might... lonely betrayed driven greedy hugely successful yet ultimately, it all was futile as he's so so empty and unhappy despite all the success. Reminiscent of Scarface, another great film....

fayble

I have to say that I can appreciate the film and thought DDL's performance was immense but I have to agree with some; that the film was incredibly slow and it does have a feel about it that it was made for the sole purpose of being epic and winning awards. I can't say that I enjoyed the film particularly as it felt like everything was going slowly; perhaps it was meant to be feel tedious and resemble Plainview's initial struggle; I don't know but it didn't live up to my expectations despite the great acting performances.

John Woods

I cant comment on this filmas it was so boreing I fell asleep before the end, SO SLOW IT ALLMOST STOPPED

meluk

What a dissapointment! I have just come back from the cinema thinking that I wasted 3 hours of my life. The film did not have an interesting story line and it was totally boring! DDL's performance is OK though..

Adam

This film had been hyped from the get go, their was some fantastic performances mainly from Daniel Day Lewis but also the guy who played Eli was great! The fil was very slow moving and ended really weird, but saying that I'm glad I saw it.

harj

magnificent! Others on this website that have scored this film as a zero or 1 star-what were you watching! As a film student who grew up watching the masters at work Paul Anderson Thompson is as good as they get. This film is ART- the Soundtrack, Cinematography, Acting is Top NOTCH! DDL is a master at work-watch the bext actor in the world work his magic! I have now seen this film 3 times & will go again. CLOVERFIELD, RAMBO etc... plenty of dross out their for those that want to put their brain in neutral! WATCH THIS!

harj

magnificent! Others on this website that have scored this film as a zero or 1 star-what were you watching! As a film student who grew up watching the masters at work Paul Anderson Thompson is as good as they get. This film is ART- the Soundtrack, Cinematography, Acting is Top NOTCH! DDL is a master at work-watch the bext actor in the world work his magic! I have now seen this film 3 times & will go again. CLOVERFIELD, RAMBO etc... plenty of dross out their for those that want to put their brain in neutral! WATCH THIS!

Leamingtonian

Watching this film is like giving birth, huge pain during delivery, but you feel so much better when it ends!(of so I am told as a male). Incredibly intensive film which keeps you absorbed in the cinema, yet you do not know why. It is brutal, violent and grim. If you feel depressed, don't go! Wonderful acting from the whole cast, thought the star may 'over act' in parts. Great for intellectual discussion with friends afterwards to interpret the meaning and charecters.

Munster

I was utterly transfixed for all two and a half hours of this film. What a brilliant piece of work. It asks all kinds of questions about the desire and drive for wealth and power and many parallels can be drawn in our world today and Plainview's surroundings. Daniel Day Lewis rightly won the Oscar for Best Actor. Thank you Paul Thomas Anderson. As for those that slated this film, I really can't stand it when plebs write in telling us all how much of a waste of their time and money this film was. Might I suggest you read Time Out's review before every film? Those films with 1 star are suitable for you. Live by that rule and you'll never be disappointed again.

Munster

I was utterly transfixed for all two and a half hours of this film. What a brilliant piece of work. It asks all kinds of questions about the desire and drive for wealth and power and many parallels can be drawn in our world today and Plainview's surroundings. Daniel Day Lewis rightly won the Oscar for Best Actor. Thank you Paul Thomas Anderson. As for those that slated this film, I really can't stand it when plebs write in telling us all how much of a waste of their time and money this film was. Might I suggest you read Time Out's review before every film? Those films with 1 star are suitable for you. Live by that rule and you'll never be disappointed again.

JC

After reading the critic reviews I was really lookig forward to seeing it. I have just returned from watching it and would agree that DDL is superb but apart from that there is nothing to this movie. I have read the reviews about it being epic and the scenery and close-ups etc and to an extent I agree with the comments but there was absolutely no compelling story-line. For me it was boring verging on painful.

JT

Oh dear. I agree that DDL's acting is something else (actually he sounded like someone else at times - stand up Sean Connery) but did it really have to take so long to make the point? Some heavy editing and an engrosing film of say90 minutes could have been made out of this

Michael James

I read that this film is over-hyped, that it says nothing about the oil industry or why Plianview has become the man he is. Perhaps Thomas Anderson should have spelt it out for all to see in plain view. Plainview is an anti-socialist because he has had no socialism. He trusts the earth & what's beneath it. A brave & magnificent achievement in minimalism. Makes 'Giant' look redundant. Daniel Day Lewis is without a shadow of a doubt, the greatest British actor since Sir Alec Guinness. The film is a modern day opera. Occasionally, mainstream film can bee seen as art & this is one of those (all too rare) moments. To compare it to Anthony Mann or Bud Boeticcher is complimenatry, although I think the writer did not mean to. The score is also magnificent.

Michael James

I read that this film is over-hyped, that it says nothing about the oil industry or why Plianview has become the man he is. Perhaps Thomas Anderson should have spelt it out for all to see in plain view. Plainview is an anti-socialist because he has had no socialism. He trusts the earth & what's beneath it. A brave & magnificent achievement in minimalism. Makes 'Giant' look redundant. Daniel Day Lewis is without a shadow of a doubt, the greatest British actor since Sir Alec Guinness. The film is a modern day opera. Occasionally, mainstream film can bee seen as art & this is one of those (all too rare) moments. To compare it to Anthony Mann or Bud Boeticcher is complimenatry, although I think the writer did not mean to. The score is also magnificent.

Kozaj

A complete movie.. really enjoyed every minute of it. especially the back round music resembling creaking of an ungreased machine

Kozaj

A complete movie.. really enjoyed every minute of it. especially the back round music resembling creaking of an ungreased machine

pinkmummyj

The most dismal film I have seen in ages - and disappointing cinsidering the reviews. I waited for all the treads to be pulled together at the end and for there to be some purpose in the multiple storylines but left feeling cheated. Utterly miserable - what a waste of 2 1/2 hours

Paul

This is when you should ignore the dvd on a small home screen and see it on a cinema scale. What a film! I could sit through it again, there is so much too it and a great story. Also a fillm to put a big smile on Richard Dawkin's face.

Paul

This is when you should ignore the dvd on a small home screen and see it on a cinema scale. What a film! I could sit through it again, there is so much too it and a great story. Also a fillm to put a big smile on Richard Dawkin's face.

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