Sunday Movie Night: ‘There Will Be Blood’ (2007)


Well shit it’s Sunday already. Hope you are well. The thing I tend to do on a night like this is just to force myself to sit down and watch a movie, because like 94% of the time otherwise, I’m working way too much, distracted by my phone [and now a damn Apple Watch] and blah blah blah. A couple of weeks ago I posted a thing about the filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson and I touched a bit on how IMO this man is literally the Stanley Kubrick of anyone one over the the age of say, sixteen. If you are not familiar with PTA’s work, google ‘Boogie Nights’, ‘Magnolia’, ‘Punch Drunk Love’, or maybe ‘How to direct a damn fine film’ and he’ll likely show up.

Tonight for a second time in two weeks because my laptop broke I’m watching PTA’s ‘There Will Be Blood’

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Via Wikipedia, my comments are italicized

There Will Be Blood is a 2007 American epic drama film written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson and starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Dano. The film was inspired by Upton Sinclair’s novel Oil! It tells the story of a silver miner-turned-oilman on a ruthless quest for wealth during Southern California’s oil boom of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The film received significant critical praise upon release as well as numerous award nominations and victories. It premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival, where it won the Silver Bear Award for Best Director and a Special Artistic Contribution Award for Jonny Greenwood’s score. It also appeared on many critics’ “top ten” lists for the year, notably the American Film Institute,[2] the National Society of Film Critics, the National Board of Review, and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. Day-Lewis won Oscar, BAFTA, Golden Globe, ScreenActors Guild, NYFCC and IFTA Best Actor awards for his performance, cementing his position as one of the most acclaimed actors of his generation. The film was nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, winning Best Actor for Day-Lewis and Best Cinematography for Robert Elswit.

There Will Be Blood is now widely regarded as one of the best films of the 2000s. In late 2009, Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly, Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian, Peter Travers of Rolling Stone, and Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune and At the Movies chose it as the best film from 2000–2009. In the directors BFI’s 2012 Sight & Sound poll for the best films ever made, the film was ranked #75 (making it the third film on the list which had been released since 2000) and 202 in the critics’ poll (making it the seventh film on the list released since 2000).

K. So, Paul Thomas Anderson is totally legit. As in like give the man all of the Academy awards that Kubrick never got. I wrote a piece on him a while back, and also he has a new film that I have not seen yet, Inherent Vice, and that also looks incredible. Back to the flick about oil and religion and somehow bowling. 

[Trailer]


[Plot Synopsis] | (Spoilers)

In 1898, Daniel Plainview, a prospector in New Mexico, mines a potentially precious ore vein from a pit mine hole. In the process of dynamiting the lode, he falls from a broken rung of the tunnel ladder and breaks his leg. He saves a silver sample, climbs out of the mine, and drags himself to the nearest assay office to record his and gets a Silver and Gold certificate claim. In 1902, he discovers oil near Los Angeles, California and establishes a small drilling company. Following the death of a worker in an accident, Daniel adopts the man’sorphaned son. The boy, named H. W., becomes his nominal”business partner”, allowing Daniel to paint himself to potential investors as “a family man”.

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First thing I like about this one is that unlike PTA’s other flicks, it’s the pace of it. He’s known for super long takes so that’s a given, but these super long takes are very morose and dreary almost. They drive the plot along almost as much as the the dialogue, which is so smart and on point, I almost wish Mr. Anderson would just write a novel already. But I’m digressing now. One more thing you’ll notice that is a bit different in this film from his others is the soundtrack. Similar to Kubrick’s use of classical music, the soundtrack in this one sorta sets tone and mood, not like in ‘Boogie Nights’, where he used the song “Do Your Thing” by Charlie Wright & The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band, to add a little spice to one of the main characters blowing his brains out.  

Nine years later in 1911, Daniel is approached by Paul Sunday, who tells him of an oil deposit under his family’s property in Little Boston, California. Daniel attempts to buy the farm at a bargain price but Paul’s twin brother Eli, wise to Daniel’s plan, holds out for $5,000 and states that it is for a local church of which he is the pastor. An agreement is made and Daniel goes on to acquire all the available land in the area, except for one holdout: William Bandy. Oil production begins, but an on-site accident kills a worker and a gas blowout robs H. W. of his hearing. Eli blames the disasters on the well not being properly blessed. When he demands his family’s as yet unpaid $5,000, Daniel beats and humiliates him. Eli berates and attacks his father at the dinner table for trusting Daniel, as well as blaming his brother Paul for the family’s plight.

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At this point it’s getting late and this film is almost three hours long, that’s why I didn’t finish this post two weeks ago, so sorry not sorry. Now that I mentioned the long takes and the soundtrack, I’ll touch on a few more things:

  1. Daniel Day Lewis is amazing. We all know that I suppose, but as an actor, I can honestly say that there is not one role that he has played that he did not totally blow out of the water. Pretty sure he played Abraham Lincoln too. +1
  2. Cinematography. Top notch and breathtaking pretty much the entire film. +2
  3. Another comparison to Stanley Kubrick, who based almost every film he made after a book, this film is based on a book as well, but I never read it. +1

Eli does so reluctantly, and Daniel reveals that the property is now worthless because he has already drained its oil through surrounding wells. Shaken and desperate, Eli confesses to be in dire financial straits, and Daniel taunts him by mentioning his brother Paul, who, Daniel claims, has his own oil company and is comparatively more successful. After Daniel briefly chases Eli in Daniel’s own private bowling room, Daniel kills Eli by smashing his head in with a bowling pin.

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[And scene]:

When Daniel’s butler comes down to check on him, Daniel says casually, “I’m finished.”

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THE END.

And that’s about it. I know it’s super long but if you have three hours to kill, watch this. Maybe on a rainy day, because that’s what I’m doing right now. 

Score for ‘There Will Be Blood’ [10/10] because OIL! and I drink your milkshake.

Happy Sunday. 🙂

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