There Will Be Blood Review
"There Will Be Blood", Scott Rudin Productions, 2007
Paul Thomas Anderson's historical drama is rather hard to contain. Although epic in scope, giving the film a timeless quality that will only grow more poignant as society continues to unravel more of its western hypocrisies, it is in fact incredibly profound, personal and susceptible to the evil that is drawn from the good of one of cinema's most brilliantly-curated characters. A truly angry and daunting experience that 100% warrants its label as a modern classic.
There are a lot of strings to its bow. Whilst a rags-to-riches to story on the surface, the rest of the iceberg is never too far away, resting skilfully on the balance between the bigger picture that Little Boston represents and the weight of morality carried by Daniel Day-Lewis' 'Daniel Plainview', who journeys through the familiar tale of success in the most strangely cathartic way possible. The sheer amount of detail that spills through so naturally in his performance, from his quiet asides that reflect on his responsibilities as society's new driving force and episodes of seething anguish to his moments of blind rage and bitterness feeling betrayed by the system he was helping elevate into the 21st century, makes for scenes of burning passion that are almost painfully immersive. This is paired brilliantly with the constant backdrop of isolation that rings out stylistically, enabling the dark cloud to slowly seep in a truly powerful way which is helped by a meticulous sense of pacing, spending the perfect amount of time on each of Daniel's individually disconnected relationships. The screenplay knows exactly when to turn up the volume and to crawl deeper into the rabbit hole and when to let the overriding trepidation coast for a scene or two. An earnest vulnerability is something that this film has in spades, providing some necessary variation in order to remove any barriers that the genre's more traditionally gruelling tropes would put up.
To sum up, a brutally honest spectacle that remains captivating throughout as a result of its brilliant direction that never gets lost in the turmoil of the story, simply some of the best acting I've bear witness to and its devastating depiction of the birth of the modern world.