Posted at 3:10 PM on February 13, 2008
by Euan Kerr
Daniel Day-Lewis towers over "There will be Blood" like the oil derricks his character Daniel Plainview builds across the Texas landscape. And like those derricks, he's outwardly composed, but he has the potential to explode.
Sometimes good things can come from those explosions, and sometimes it's bad. "Blood" draws it's energy from the fact that is it's seldom clear for a while which explosions are positive.
Under Paul Thomas Anderson's direction Day-Lewis portrays a character who goes from being driven by the search of oil to being consumed by the oil business. Along the way he rubs hard against family and community, coming into conflict with a local pastor Eli Sunday, played with an otherworldly intensity by Paul Dano ("Little Miss Sunshine.")
These are the kind of characters who propelled America in the early 20th century, the people who shaped how we live now at least in part.
At over two-and-a half-hours "There will be Blood" is long, but such is the compelling nature of the performance by Day-Lewis that it carries the audience effortlessly.
"There will be Blood" has 8 Oscar nominations, including for Best Film, Best Director, and Best Actor. Daniel Day-Lewis has to be a favorite for the best actor, and Anderson also has to be up there for Best director. But Best Movie? I still have to see Michael Clayton but at the moment my money would be on "No Country for Old Men."
(One other remarkable thing in this film is the music composed for the soundtrack by Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood. It's challenging listening, but it grabs a viewer and refuses to let go.)