By Daniel Segraves
By Daniel Segraves
As far as critical acclaim is concerned, look no further than “There Will Be Blood.” Daniel Day Lewis (“Gangs Of New York”) and Paul Dano (“Little Miss Sunshine”) are the main selling points on a movie of greed, hatred, faith and oil. The powerful acting of Lewis teamed with the breakout success of Dano promise to accent a movie that will leave audiences begging for more.
“There Will Be Blood” is based on the Upton Sinclair novel “OIL!” from 1927, but the directing and screenwriting of Paul Thomas Anderson (“Punch Drunk Love,” “Magnolia”) breathes a tense, entrancing beat into the heart of the story.
While at first glance this movie seems to be a western, there is much more to it than just oil tycoons and simple country people. There is disappointment looming in the tycoon’s eyes and an unsettling doubt whenever a young preacher speaks.
Daniel Plainview (Lewis) is a small-time silver miner turned oil tycoon who will stop at nothing to succeed in his quest for success. When he happens across an oil-rich field that he must own, his pride takes control.
The only problem in Plainview’s way is Eli Sunday (Dano), a young minister/faith healer blunt and arrogant enough to stand up to Plainview when promises of fortune start to fall short. When Sunday starts noticing that Plainview is taking the Sunday family’s cut of the profits, sparks begin to fly, igniting a moralistic battle between a man of faith and a man of power.
Awards have already begun pouring in for the film; the Los Angeles Film Critics Association were held Dec. 10, where “There Will Be Blood” walked away with the awards for Best Picture, Best Actor (Lewis) and Best Director (Anderson).
The film also won the award for Best Production Design and was the runner-up for Best Cinematography and Best Music (composed by Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood).
While period pieces that hold attention are few and far between, “There Will Be Blood” looks to have the right equation: plenty of character, tons of expert writing, and very little cliché period gimmicks.
“There Will Be Blood” will no doubt be around at Oscar time, the only question is how dominant will it be. Between the writing of Sinclair and the acting of Lewis and Dano, “There Will Be Blood” will be the dramatic blockbuster of the winter that will make waves before Oscar season.