There Will Be Blood (2007) " A Modern-Primitive Masterstroke."

Starring:- Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano, Dillon Freasier, Ciaran Hinds, Russell Harvard, Hans Howes, Kevin J. O’Connor, Sydney McCallister.

Directed by:- Paul Thomas Anderson.

The Black Heart

“Who doesn’t knows There Will Be Blood?”
That was the question I was asked by one of my friends in my Junior College. I responded, with the fact that I’ve heard of it but haven’t seen it. I have also heard of Day-Lewis’s reign over actors but felt despicable and ashamed that I haven’t seen another movie of him except Lincoln, which I deeply consider overrated but acted out well – That’s what you’ll get from an artsy-flashy director like Spielberg. This is also the first movie I’ve watched of PT Anderson. Boogie Nights and The Master being his badges, There Will Be Blood can be touted as the best work ever done by everyone involved in it – most to most even the clap boy.

Forgot the shaving set at home.

This movie has like one of the most evocative and powerful openings in Cinema History. You should get the sign from the way the name is written in Old English style that you’re gonna witness something new or more important, something different. In the beginning we see a man (Day-Lewis) digging for Silver in midst of a desert and having a gruesome fall which will break his leg, but he got what he wanted – Silver. His resoluteness makes him drag all the way through the arid and thorny desert of 1890s Americana. We are shown his name in the form of his signature – Daniel Plainview.

An Ode to Introduction.

Its the 1900s now, Plainview has now jumped onto Oil and has begun extracting it. When one of his workers dies due to a structural malfunction on the Oil Derrick, Daniel adopts the infant son of that worker, names him H.W and makes him his heir-cum-business partner; in reality being a vassal. Plainview turns out successful and transforms into a wolf hunting in meadows (America) for the flock of sheep (lands with Oil) for his drilling venture. Plainview cunningly manages to canvass the owners by warning them about Speculators – the people who get between the driller and the owner, and impressing them by his working ethics – close inspection of workers. He gobbles up more and more, swelling but remembering his cool.

Nice black. I need such color for my suit.

It is good until Paul Sunday (Dano) washes up on his office and offers him the land near his family ranch in a place called Little Boston. Plainview aims the potential and agrees to the deal. He treks to Sunday Ranch and meets the Sunday family with Eli Sunday (Dano again). It is revealed that Eli is the pastor of the nearby Church of Third Revelation and he asks for an advance amount for the Church’s renovation with the sum given for land- with the Derrick being inaugurated by him. Plainview agrees and starts his consumption again, buying up everything except one Bandy Tract.

That’s where we gonna dig; not the paper, fool! The land I’m talkin’ about.

Plainview betrays Eli during the inauguration by inaugurating the Derrick by Eli’s younger sister. Everything goes fine (with a fatal accident) until H.W is deafened during an gas explosion. The Derrick catches fire due to the endless spouting of Oil. Plainview sees it in a positive aspect, motivating his compatriots by pointing out towards the vast amount of Oil present. This sequence, with the superb background music provides the catalyst for the movie as Plainview gets what he wanted, on the sake of his persona. Plainview then has a visitor named Henry (O’Connor) who claims to be his half-brother. Plainview lets hims stay with him and H.W.

Hello Freeloaders!

Plainview feels that H.W’s deaf presence is now being a thorn, subsequently he sends him away to the Cities under the supervision of his colleague (Hinds). He makes Henry his business partner and subsequently kills him when his doubts about Henry are true. Plainview is then forced by Bandy (Howes) to participate and ask for the blood in the sermon at the Church of Third Revelation if he wants the aforementioned Tract for the Pipeline. Plainview agrees; Eli uses this chance wholly and slaps and debentures Plainview, but he maintains his cool- keeping everything for sometime else. This scene defines Day-Lewis’s acting proportions. The setting of the wooden church, with him being slapped repeatedly and still mocking Dano is really great. The look on his face when Dano’s character repeatedly mentions H.W’s abandoning, and the subsequent exclaiming was moving and raw at the same time – proving Day-Lewis’s powers as an actor. H.W returns with an instructor, Eli goes around the states as a missionary, Plainview keeps hunting.

Don’t worry! It’ll only take 10 baths and 5 bar of soaps to get rid of this Oil!

We jump onto the 1920s. Plainview is now very rich and lives in a beautiful mansion fully fledged with private amenities e.g A Bowling alley, bars and much more. H.W marries Eli’s younger sister Mary. Plainview is alone and has become a staunch alcoholic, blinking towards melange. H.W comes to Plainview and prospects towards Mexico with his wife to start a drilling business of his own. Plainview discards him and sparks up animosity by pointing towards competition and he also reveals that H.W wasn’t born to him as he shows to the world. He was a simple cute pawn in the game which he used to take down the king. Plainview mocks him by saying that H.W’s got nothing of him. H.W is visually setback, he responds by thanking god that he’s got nothing of Plainview in him. It breaks the last strand Plainview has, which he swallows with dignity and keeps shouting when H.W is walking out of the room – You are a Bastard from the Basket!

My knees are hurting, you sabbatical wretch!

Eli comes to visit Plainview, the last thing Plainview ever wanted. Eli is now into radio broadcasting, and is in dire need of money. He tries to strike a deal with Plainview by the Bandy Tract, which turns out that Plainview owns almost every land of Little Boston. Plainview orders Eli to proclaim that he’s a false prophet and God is a superstition in turn for money. Eli reluctantly shouts the aforementioned. Plainview then mocks him by mentioning his brother Paul who is now an Oil prospector and is successful, by calling Paul the true prophet. He finally reveals that he has drained out the whole place and there’s no use in bickering now (Drainage, Eli My Boy!). Plainview then pulls Eli out onto the bowling alley and a blackly comic nuance scene follows, ending with Plainview smashing Eli’s skull by a wooden pin. The movie ends with Plainview answering to his butler’s call by “I’m Finished”. An outstanding denouement for such movie.

And Eli gets the top prize in “Plainview Slap-a-thon”

This movie is the leader of deranged-first-characters category. Daniel Plainview is undoubtedly the most cunning character ever put to screen. His Ambition and bickering from religious  zealots has shrouded his vision and madness creeps into him – making him straightforward and nothing but total exploitation of Oil before him. His calculations preach benefits for him in future, for example the adoption of H.W, who provided a soft corner to his dealings. He is pompous, visible in the scene in which he talks to Mary Sunday in front of her father about the beatings she gets because of her religious views. The father is quiet and keeps drinking; he knows he can’t say anything, his mouth is choked by Plainview’s bills. Plainview totally masters the game and it is quite sure that no one can oust him out of this; if anyone does he’ll return and cut his throat. Plainview, who simply wants to become a prospector specialized in Oil, ends up being the unanimous master of Little Boston, with the Derricks being the sign of Plainview and his mastery.

Thank God It’s Winter!

One particular scene shows beautifully the transition of being in Plainview – “The Fiery Derrick” as I would like to call it. Gas erupts the Oil plainly out of the Derrick in such force that H.W. is thrown back, Plainview, who is scribbling out work, runs towards the Derrick, clutches H.W. and returns to the cabin totally drenched in Oil. Until here, the background score mostly consists of minimal percussion in irregular playing. The tune slowly builds up, pointing towards the seriousness of the timeframe. When he comes running out of the cabin with a hammer leaving H.W. behind, wild violins accompany the score. The music goes on soaring till Plainview mocks Fletcher (Hinds) [There’s an whole ocean of Oil under our feet!]. That is the track “Convergence” by Jonny Greengrass for a documentary called Bodysong. Fletcher asks about H.W., to which he responds “He’s not all right”. The score and the performance makes us cent percent sure – This guy is going mad. Some people have compared Plainview with Charles Foster Kane; Well what should I say? Both of them are towers built of same height but of different materials and different foundations. The most appropriate comment to use will be that Kane yearned for love in his own way whereas Plainview made up for his life and just waited patiently for his doom laced with alcoholism.

They’re comparing me with an Oil mongering money-mad pirate!

The second player on the board – Eli Sunday. We first see him when he gives wood to Plainview while trekking, but we come to see his real side during the deal-making dinner, where he checkmates Plainview on almost every move. This shows he is a worthy and powerful contender. His religious zealotry provides him a sturdy cover to the little society of Little Boston, his powerful sermons and other-worldly conversations with God and Devil makes him a personality to look out for. The accidents at the Derricks provide him a stance to fight, which he suitably doesn’t uses only to be defeated horribly by Plainview.

And the dinosaur shrieked, “Hrruuaahhh!!”

The last scenes are the powerhouse of the whole movie. The epic confrontation between the Evangelist and the sleeping-now-awake Wolf. The wolf is successful in tearing the Evangelist apart bone by bone, and ultimately shows his might by smashing his enemy’s head onto a trunk. The Evangelist is taken aboard by God, who according to him left him away for the Devil. The famous Milkshake’n’Straw hypothesis put ahead by Plainview wraps up the context – call someone from somewhere else for your job, he’ll drink you up completely. One thing you’ll notice in this movie is the lack of feminism, with only Mary Sunday (McCallistan) being the exception.

The Plainview Law of Debauchery and Milkshakes.

Anderson’s past works kept him somewhat afloat on the raft but it is There Will Be Blood which rescued him onto the star-liner ship, a man to look out for. You know you’re gonna get something wonderful when the best actor of this generation and one of the most original directors of all time collaborate. There Will Be Blood is the peacock’s feather on Anderson’s cap, a mark to recognize his artistic might. It can also be considered one of his Americana nightmares, deranging and ambition being a major point of the lead character. Some compare his directorial style to Kubrick’s, which is utterly rubbish. This one of the biggest problems our Audience and critics go through and give birth to. M.Night Shyamalan too was touted as the “next Spielberg” upon the release of The Sixth Sense, but what happened? He completely lost his mojo and is now considered one of the worst. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen with Anderson. Keeping all that ruckus aside, this movie is a Masterstroke from a Master director.

Hey Can we dig for Oil here?

The movie is immortalized by the cinematography of Robert Elswit. The camera is successful in making us delve into the void-like mines of Americana desert, making us feel the darkness and breathlessness or making us one of the frantic workers of Plainview during the Fiery Derrick. The Camera movements are very smooth. Deserving Oscar. The Art Department should be applauded for the sets and costumes. They are more than successful in bringing the 19-20th centuries to life. Music by Jonny Greenwood is one of the best things that ever occurred to this movie. His music is haunting and at the same time it is very powerful, especially during the Fiery Derrick and the Rundown Programs*. Convergence, Future Markets, Open Spaces and Henry Plainview are the highlight of the soundtracks – strings being the soul of the tracks. Convergence is literally one of the best pieces of music I’ve ever listened. The haphazardly existent Future Markets open the diaspora of the music in the movie. The soundtrack is somewhat reminiscent of the music of Wendy Carlos in The Shining (1980). These factors accelerate the cart into the goldmine.

The Beacon of Victory.

Daniel Day-Lewis has proved that he’s the best actor of this generation and no can can defeat him from the towering height he’s onto now. He’s like born to play Daniel Plainview. The crooked nose, the deep slumbering voice, the oiled neat hair to the frizzy one, the limping and everything else factors to the character’s development. The way he shrieks “I AM THE THIRD REVELATION!” or “I’VE ABANDONED MY CHILD”, it’s a pure downpour of pride and emotions respectively, on which Day-Lewis scores cent percent.Day-Lewis has this wonderful face expression thing which has moved me beyond everything. His acting caliber has given him his second Oscar and rose him above on the echelons. Paul Dano was nothing short of extraordinary in this picture, and he’s worthy of applause to keep his cool and play smoothly even in the presence of such a great actor. His cute chubby face with the horrifying sermons are scenes to behold. Everyone else have done a commendable job, spearheaded by Freasier.

“I am the third revelation! I am the third revelation!” My most favorite scene from the lot.

In conclusion, There Will Be Blood is a war of Influences – Religion.v.Work. One of the best movies ever made, this is the “Citizen Kane” of this era and it will forever remain Day-Lewis’s and Anderson’s picture.

This post has also finished Mr Plainview.

Pro:- Everything.
Con:- Nothing.

Ratings:- 5/5

*These are the names I’ve given to certain sequences in the movie per my comical or serious recognition.


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