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There Will Be Blood (2007)

It seems the Oscar nominations are now awarded to the strangest. What else could explain the nomination for lead actors who portray insanely demented characters, and films that seem more intent on confusing rather than entertaining? If there were an award for the strangest film of the year, There Will Be Blood would definitely be a shoe in, but was all the films hype and critical acclaim truly worthy? While the film might have provided viewers with a few well versed catch phrases, it ultimately falls quite short of anything near greatness.

Daniel Day-Lewis plays Daniel Plainview, a poor silver miner who gives up mining and begins to concentrate on oil drilling full time, soon becoming quite wealthy and well known for his success in the trade. One day he receives a tip from a young man named Paul Sunday about a large quantity of oil nearly pouring from the earth, so Daniel heads to Little Boston, California to see for himself. Upon arriving at the Sunday ranch, Daniel discovers Paul's claims to be quite accurate but with an odd twist.

Paul, now claiming to be named Eli, appears to have a few screws loose in his head, and his main goal in bringing Daniel to Little Boston was a perfectly planned ploy to help fund his crackpot church under the guise of some sort of humanitarian measure. But Eli's only a small bump in the road for Daniel, whose obstacles are about to grow greater and more frequent, whether it be the deafness of his son H.W. or the sudden arrival of his supposed half brother Henry. But nothing hinders Daniel from his quest for more and more oil. It's a quest he shows he's willing to do anything to conquer, and ultimately consumes him, transforming him into a very soulless person.

I've never seen anything like There Will Be Blood, which is not a complement to the film, but the closest I can come to verbally explaining my overall experience. If you’re not of fan of films with more silence than dialogue and long periods of repetitive strange background music you'll want to pass this one by. The beginning of the film runs for a total of fifteen minutes with absolutely no dialogue at all, which is sure to throw some people, follow that with many other silenced moments in the film filled with a rather annoying violin soundtrack that quickly wears out it's welcome and never seems to end. It all adds to the unique or strange quality of the film, however you want to look at it. What ultimately adds There Will Be Blood to the list of overrated Oscar favorites is the story. While Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Dano put forth excellent performances, it won't stop a lot of people from finding the film quite boring and confusing on many occasions. Only when Lewis and Dano are paired on screen does the film really see its high points, the rest of the time its left to a rather dull and muddled story that is hardly impressive.

Overall, I found There Will Be Blood to be an interesting experience, I in no way loved the film, but it's odd characters and at times bizarre storyline held my attention mainly to see how much stranger this film could possibly get. The only thing worth the praise is the acting, and Lewis and Dano carry this film, which would have been horrible without them. There Will Be Blood is a perfect example of a film that's carried by it's lead actor's performance, a performance that takes a mediocre story and makes it watchable. While I'm not apart of the masses who think Daniel Day-Lewis is one of the best actors of all-time, he definitely puts forth an interesting and at times mesmerizing performance. Had this film not had a lead actor of Daniel Day-Lewis's ability, it would have easily gone unnoticed by the critics because his performance is the only real highlight of the film. In the end, There Will Be Blood is worth a look for curiosity sake and is sure to be one of the stranger films you've seen in recent years, but don't expect anything more from the film than an entertaining performance from the two lead actors.


1 comment:

  1. Boy oh boy your review is right on target,because There Will Be Blood is without a doubt one of most over praised films ever. Day Lewis doesn't really save this movie for no one could have. Lewis is a fine actor,mesmerizing even in films like Last of the Mohicans or In the Name of the Father,but in TWBB not at all. Dano was just chewing up the scenery. This film was born and bred Oscar bait,intellectually dry as dust, emotionally,spiritually empty and oh so pretentious. No wonder so many contemporary film critics loved it.


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