Ruthless silver miner, turned oil prospector, Daniel Plainview, moves to oil-rich California. Using his son to project a trustworthy, family-man image, Plainview cons local landowners into selling him their valuable properties for a pittance. However, local preacher Eli Sunday suspects Plainview's motives and intentions, starting a slow-burning feud that threatens both their lives.
Great movie, not a spaghetti western. Very good story and atmosphere 10 stars.
***Weighty, morose period drama with complex characters and Daniel Day-Lewis*** In the early 20th century, an industrious prospector in Southern California, Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis), becomes a shrewd oil magnate, whose journey is paralleled with a dubious Pentecostal pastor of a remote church, Eli Sunday (Paul Dano). “There Will Be Blood” (2007) is a one-of-a-kind period drama with Western elements. It’s arty and the furthest thing from a conventional blockbuster. You have to be in the mode for a deep, slow-moving, epic flick like this in order to appreciate it. The contemporaneous “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” and “No Country for Old Men” are good comparisons. Whilst the story and main characters are simple on the surface, they go deep and there are many gems to mine: What good is success if you have no one to love and enjoy it with? Is Daniel a sociopath or a quality individual who acquires sociopathic tendencies because his choices put him on the road of madness? Was Eli a “false prophet”? If so, was he always a con or did he become one? Why is Eli paralleled with Daniel? Does Daniel have the capacity for genuine love? Does he mean what he ultimately says to HW or are they words born from a sense of betrayal? Would a sane person rashly resort to murder? Is there a positive protagonist in the movie? If so, who and why? If not, why not? The film runs 2 hours, 38 minutes, and was shot in Southern Cal and Texas (Shafter & Marfa); and Lakewood, Washington (Thornewood Castle). GRADE: B