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Reflections of a working writer and reader

 

 

There Will Be Blood

This film, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, based on a novel by Upton Sinclair, and starring Daniel Day-Lewis, was interminably long at 158 minutes. But if it had been cut down by half it still wouldn’t have amounted to much.

It depicts an anarchic world ruled by mindless and gratuitous violence, greed and revenge. The landscape of Southern California where most of the action takes place is sandy desert, good for goats but very little else. It reflects most of the characters’ lack of culture, beauty, meaning or fellow-feeling and offers us nothing as substitute apart from the psychopathy of the Day-Lewis depiction and the raving insanity of fundamentalist religion.

Daniel Day-Lewis as Daniel Plainview is magnificent, and Paul Dano as Eli Sunday, the preacher, manages to keep pace with him for the duration of the film. There are close-ups of Day-Lewis from time to time which reminded me of the power of Brando at his best. The man can act and convey emotion and power with the nerve-endings of his eye-lids and lips. This must rank highly among the greatest performances on screen. It is a pity that such a tour de force didn’t have a better vehicle.

Since its release in December 2007 There Will Be Blood has won 2 Oscars and another 36 wins & 37 nominations in various festival and critics awards.

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