Friday, July 23, 2010

There Will Be Blood (2007)

Stars : Daniel Day Lewis, Paul Dano.

Directed By : Paul Thomas Anderson.

Written By : Paul Thomas Anderson, Upton Sinclair (Novel)

Daniel Day Lewis is a rare artist and I am not just talking about his acting abilities but the fact that he is one of the most selective actors in Hollywood with only 5 films in last 13 years and when one of his movies is up for grab its not to be missed. The title of the movie does blends with Daniel's past work but its more than that. One of his best works and for sure an Academy Award worthy performance.

Daniel Plainview ( Daniel Day Lewis) who digs in for minerals in 1902 discovers oil in one of his digs and establishes a drilling company. Daniel adopts one of his workers orphaned son and names him H.W and makes him his only partner. He slowly grows his business by acquiring land with possibilities of oil. One day he is contacted by Paul Sunday( Paul Dano) who informs him about an opportunity of oil near his fathers ranch. Daniel travels to the location with his son in search of the promised oil, and meets Paul's family and his twin brother Eli  a priest at the local church. Daniel discovers oil and acquires the whole of the land except a ranch owned by Bandy. Daniel starts his drilling without the blessings of the church and Eli, suddenly strange things start to happen, one of his workers dies during drilling, his son loses his hearing ability because of a blast at the site and a fully developed and in work drilling unit burns down. Daniel somehow is able to create wells in the area and needs a contract to supply oil to. He is offered a buyout by a larger oil firm but rejects the offer instead decides to build a 100 mile long pipeline to the ocean and make a deal with Union Oil. Though he almost hates the church run by Eli but agrees to be baptised to acquire the farm owned by Bandy to complete his dream project of creating the pipeline. He completes the project and in between Eli leaves on some mission. In the last part Daniel is shown living in his dream house and very wealthy. The movie ends in a sequence of Daniel again meeting Eli.

Its was one movie where I felt if watched by empathizing with one character will have a different feel or perspective than if I empathize with a different character. I felt the story had a lot of angles to be watched from. The movie is a screen adaptation of  novel "Oil" by Upton Sinclair. As I said earlier the movie had a lot of angles to be watched from and I may be wrong but this how I saw it. The movie was about the age old struggle between human power to create his own destiny or make his own luck and faith. Faith in God created destinations or destiny. Its never easy to be the master of one's own destiny and one losses a lot in the journey just like Daniel who losses a lot, his sons hearing ability, a part of his wealth , his son, his peace of mind and at one point even himself but yes he gets what he thought and set out for.

Daniel Day Lewis what can one say about this highly gifted actor. I have seen only one of his previous works  "Gangs of New York" and was enough to make me his fan. He rightfully won an Oscar for his performance as Daniel Plainview. His character had almost the full spectrum of emotions, a hard working starter, a cunning businessman, a loving father and an all conquering soldier who still feels something missing even after becoming the king. He actually lives the character as oilman Daniel this is evident from the fact as he grows old he still has that black tinge around his nails which he got as the oil driller. His expressions and voice is a deadly combination for characters like Daniel Plainview and The Butcher in Gangs of New York. Though as a personal choice I liked the character and his performance as The Butcher a lot more than Daniel Plainview.

Paul Dano plays twin brothers  Paul and Eli Sunday. He was great in his introductory scene as Paul and maintains that as he takes the character of Eli. There was an innocence but always something strange about his character and a persistent doubt about Eli's intentions which Paul brings on screen quite well. The Baptism ceremony and the scene where Eli demands the remaining $5000 from Daniel are definitely the best scenes between the lead stars.

Paul Thomas wrote the screenplay for the screen, was one of the producers and the director which I felt should be one of the reason for the moving turning out to be so good as he always had everything in control. The movie though I felt just lacks a bit of pace sporadically but the movie is brilliant. I don't know what kind of camera was used or how did they do it but the initial scenes of the movie did looked like they were shot in 1900.

Its a movie that will need some patience to watch as it grows slowly. A nicely written and presented story and that's what cinema is all about, telling tales and stories.

Plus : Performance from Daniel Day Lewis and Paul Dano.

Minus : Just slows a bit for a very short time.

Ratings : 8/10

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