Here: if you have a milkshake and I have a milkshake and I have a straw, there it is, that’s the straw, see, watch it! My straw reaches across the room and starts to drink your milkshake: I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! *slurps* I drink it up!
Set in the early 20th century, the film follows the rise to power of Daniel Plainview - a charismatic and ruthless oil man, driven to succeed by his intense hatred of others and psychological need to see his competitors fail. When he learns of oil-rich land in California that can be bought cheaply, he moves his operation there and begins manipulating and exploiting the local landowners into selling him their property. Using his young adopted son H.W. to project the image of a caring family man, Plainview gains the cooperation of almost all the locals with lofty promises to build schools and cultivate the land to make their community flourish. Over time, Plainview's gradual accumulation of wealth and power causes his true self to surface, and he begins to slowly alienate himself from everyone in his life.
Daniel Day Lewis puts on an absoulutely spectacular performance as Daniel Plainview, we see two personalities of this man through the 2 and a half hour film. First seeing the kinder and softer Daniel as he makes his way up through the world through all of his drilling, but once Paul shows him these areas where oil is huge, he changes, due to greed and wealth that hook him over. Daniel handles it with perfect precision as each moment we see him on screen is just fantastic to watch.
It makes me happy as a movie lover to see that there is a director like Paul Anderson who is willing to make a film about the big beginning of the oil production. Instead of creating a post 9/11 struggle movie about the fast moving prices of oil, he takes the time to create a movie in which shows major character and the start of America's largest needed supply. In the 21st century our whole economy is basically run by oil, we need gas for our cars and oil for our electricity. With the whole war going on and everything America is struggling to get these needs as much as we need them.
One thing I must point out which is very good in this movie was the score. The first 10 or so minutes of the movie are all quiet except for character and environment sounds. When there is a moment when score is used though, it gets to be very creepy, but sometimes used in great spots of the movie. Paul Anderson does a magnificent job behind the camera with a lot of very smooth and calm camera angles and shots. The visual style along with his directorial style set the movie perfectly. There Will Be Blood is fantastic in almost every way. At about 2 hours and 38 minutes, it is very long and in moments can be drawn out, but Daniel's performance and Paul Anderson's way to tell a story make the whole film is a must see masterpiece.
PS: Is it sad/weird that I found the end slightly hilarious?
The New Yorker | David Denby
An enthralling and powerfully eccentric American epic.