There Will Be Blood – Daniel Day-Lewis

There Will Be Blood

There will be a bunch of viewers leaving the theater feeling enchanted by the Oscar winning performance of the lead actor and mesmerized by the cinematography of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s America.  There will also be a bunch of viewers who find the film too long (160 minutes), the storyline too inconclusive, and the acting too intense.  For all that is worth, “There Will Be Blood” is not meant to be released as a blockbuster though it has made it to the top 10 best films of 2007 by the critics.

You know what it is like to read a book from the good old days.  The plot of this film has an old literature feel, which is not surprising as it is inspired by Upton Sinclair’s novel, “Oil!” written in 1927.  ‘Inspired’ is the keyword because the film only adapts the first half of the book.  Imagine how long the film would be had it covered the entire book (320 minutes?!).  In the defense of this rather inconclusive storyline, Paul Thomas Anderson did write the screenplay with Daniel Day-Lewis in mind as the lead actor.  That probably explains why the entire film centers mostly on one single character, the silver miner turned oil man Daniel Plainview played by Day-Lewis.

I am a huge fan of Daniel Day-Lewis and love his roles in “The Last of the Mohicans”, “In the Name of the Father”, and “Gangs of New York”.  His acting-in-character approach works well in “There Will Be Blood”.  You can clearly see that he was not acting in the film but has rather become the character.  It can be scary to watch because the main character Daniel Plainview is not necessarily the most likeable character in the film.  The main character itself is complex.  Daniel Plainview is the down-to-earth-get-your-hands-dirty kind of person who devotes his entire life in the pursuit of success.  He takes in an orphan as his son and as a ‘business partner’ to enhance his image when dealing with the communities.  He accumulates enough hatred along the way and does not hesitate to kill.  He has no faith in religion but yet is forced to join a Christian community as part of a business deal.

In “There Will Be Blood”, you will see Daniel Day-Lewis drenched in oil, covered in mud and dirt, slapped on his face till his cheek turned red, and shouting with such an animalistic emotion till you see saliva dripping from his mouth.  Gosh, there are only a handful of actors who are in his league.  Plenty of memorable scenes in this film, I can certainly see why Daniel Day-Lewis has beaten George Clooney (“Michael Clayton”), Johnny Depp (“Sweeney Todd”), and Viggo Mortensen (“Eastern Promises”) for the Oscar title by a large margin (note: I have yet to watch Tommy Lee Jones’s “In the Valley of Elah”).

I can imagine one day in the distant future, I will watch this classic production again reciting some of the lines together with Day-Lewis (“I drink your milkshake!” or “I’m finished!”).  Is “There Will Be Blood” suited for mass consumption?  Probably not as I think it is a film to admire rather than a film to entertain.

8 thoughts on “There Will Be Blood – Daniel Day-Lewis”

  1. Lly – I agree with you. The background music seems a bit off to me too. I guess that is to create mood for the rather bizarre and strange storyline.

  2. Just finished watching this movie…too be honest my husband, Mom and I couldn’t wait for it to end.

    To me the role was to showcase DDL acting abilities and not the enjoyment of the audience.

    He deserved BEST ACTOR for this movie, but question why he takes on roles that are all too consuming. His roles are always over the top…?????

    My husband who is a fan, gave up fifteen minutes before it ended and went to bed. Thank God we rented the film and saved ourselves some bucks.

    I agree with LLY…the background music made no sense, very distracting and downright annoying.

  3. Mariana – I agreed. As I said, I can certainly see why some may not find this film enjoyable to watch.

    I guess what Daniel Day-Lewis attempted to do is to act inside the character. And I certainly feel that it is not something that everyone can do, and can do well.

  4. This is one of the best films ever created. The techniques used during the drilling scenes were very close but lacked in historical accuracy. The cable tool method of drilling had advanced much further (by this time period) than what was depicted in the film and, an operation of that magnitude would have certainly been using the most advanced technology available. THE ACTING AND SCREENPLAY were awesome and a more accurate depiction of the type man Daniel Day-Lewis portrayed does not exist. I should know, I grew up in the West Texas oil fields and I’ve seen the alcohol, greed and immorallity that have no bounds in the men who control this commodity. My father is a free mason and also an oil man. If any of you outsiders think H.W. couldn’t possibly have been Plainview’s son think again. I’m not deaf but I did lose a fingertip while working to make my father rich. If I had known that my efforts and sacrifices were being taken advantage of by a man like Plainview, I would not have thrown away the years and the energy. Dad wasn’t this murderous tycoon. He was the man who murdered my spirit and destroyed everything we had made together as a father and son. I hate him. I only wish he would watch this movie and see the error in his ways. The problem with men like him is that even when they are put in their place they are to self-absorbed to really care. It would be satisfying to see him lose everything he has and die poor, miserable, and alone. To hell with everyone of you who have foresaken your own to satisfy your lust for money. DDL is lucky he didn’t go the way of Ledger while suffering the evil he so perfectly recreated.

  5. Ernest – Thanks for sharing your insightful thoughts and experience. It is really shocking to hear about you and your dad. Hope you find peace and happiness in life.

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