Newest Reviews
You've Been Trumped Too
Woman in Black, The
Elvis: That's the Way It Is
Man Who Laughs, The
Watch List
Kat and the Band
Perfect 10
Red Penguins
China Syndrome, The
Round-Up, The
Around the Sun
Once There Was Brasilia
Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street
She Demons
Good Girls, The
Hail, Hero!
Faces in the Crowd
Traitor, The
Third Generation, The
Saxon Charm, The
Spy Intervention
Killer with a Thousand Eyes, The
Vigil, The
Liberation of L.B. Jones, The
Wizard of Baghdad, The
Good Manners
Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo
Sweet Home
Big Score, The
Newest Articles
What Use is Grief to a Horse? Equus on Blu-ray
For God's Sake Strap Yourselves Down: Flash Gordon on 4K UHD Collector's Edition
Party Hard: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights in with ABC 2 - Your Faces are All Blurred!
Eve Knew Her Apples: The Lady Eve on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Tempo - Gallery One
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 1 - Welcome Once Again to Manchester!
Transformative Apocalypses: Phase IV and Southland Tales
The Happiest Days of Their Lives: The Guinea Pig on Blu-ray
Faced Poe: Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi on Blu-ray
Hard Luck, Buster: The Cameraman on Blu-ray
At the Hop: Mr. Vampire on Blu-ray
Divine Madness: Female Trouble on Blu-ray
Country Matters: Further Out of Town on Blu-ray
Bat-Damn: Was Joel Schumacher's Batman Really That Bad?
The Beat Goes On: Takeshi Kitano Collection on Blu-ray
Dream Treats: Scorsese Shorts on Blu-ray
It's Only Money: Laughter in Paradise on Blu-ray
A Regular Terpsichore: Dance, Girl, Dance on Blu-ray
Teenage Trauma: Baby Love on Blu-ray
The Happening: Pet Shop Boys It Couldn't Happen Here on Blu-ray
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
  There Will Be Blood Oil's Well That Ends Well
Year: 2007
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano, Kevin J. O'Connor, Ciarán Hinds, Dillon Freasier, Barry Del Sherman, Paul F. Tompkins, Hans Howes, David Willis, Christine Olejniczak, David Warshofsky, Sydney McCallister, Russell Harvard, Robert Arber, Colleen Foy
Genre: DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) used to be a miner, searching for silver to scrape a living. One day he had set his dynamite to uncover fresh veins of the precious metal when there was an accident and he was left with a broken leg at the bottom of the pit he had dug. Yet Plainview was possessed of an almost supernatural drive to succeed, and he not only made money with the silver he found, he dragged himself back to civilisation, or the closest thing to it, later setting up a business to find oil in California. But would his obssession with making wealth hopelessly corrupt him?

Erm, yes, and that's about all there is to Paul Thomas Anderson's much-lauded character study set in the early years of the twentieth century and drawn from a socially conscious novel by Upton Sinclair. It's a long journey to get to a destination you can see even from the trailer, never mind the first half hour, but what was striking to most people was the curious handling of a fairly straightforward tale of the way a man can sell his soul for the sake of prosperity. Yet, really, how strange was it? This wasn't exactly David Lynch, after all.

In fact, the oddest aspect was a muted stillness to the drama that even affected the tenser scenes, leaving us at a remove from the characters and not simply because of the historical setting. Many viewers were not as won over as the film's fans, feeling as alienated from it as those close to Plainview are by the climax of the story. For a start, Day-Lewis adopts a John Huston impersonation to bring his lead role to life, which proves another obstacle in getting on with There Will Be Blood, and the other actors are either reining it in or, in the case of Paul Dano as Plainview's enemy, preacher Eli Sunday, offputtingly weak in what should be a powerhouse performance.

This means Day-Lewis dominates, as it should be as he is in practically every scene, but when he seems to have only one personality trait you start to look for something beneath the surface to see what is compelling him and it grows to be an unanswered mystery, unlike in Citizen Kane which this was overstatedly compared to. Plainview's only family member appears to be a brother (Kevin J. O'Connor) who shows up halfway through, but proves to be not what he says he is, thereby bringing out the theme that the acquisition of great wealth and power also brings a measure of violence in order to keep it. Yes, we're taking down the oil industry here.

Plainview's other family member who isn't is H.W. (Dillon Freasier), the little boy he has brought up since he lost his father in one of the oilman's accidents, who is apparently only present to suffer rejection later on, another example of the plot eschewing subtlety. Anderson does have an interesting point of view on his lead character, and ensures everyone else revolves around him, including those who are resisting his avaricious ways, so that Plainview callously erases the line between success and exploitation in his methods. We are meant to see him as losing his soul, yet Eli does not put up a strong enough defence in the case of God, and their final confrontation brings the film to a halt in a manner that left more than one person wondering, "Was that it?" As usual with Anderson, he was technically impressive, but perhaps overambitious, not that that is a bad thing, just disappointing in this case. Music by Johnny Greenwood.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 2613 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Paul Smith
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg


Last Updated: