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"There Will Be Blood" film review

Updated on February 8, 2016

Daniel Day-Lewis

Paul Thomas Anderson

"There Will Be Blood"

"There Will Be Blood" is an unforgettable movie about a riveting and ruthless oil man in the turn-of-the-century California oil boom. This character was played superlatively by Daniel Day-Lewis a British actor noted for picking his roles very carefully and putting everything he has into them. He previously won a best actor Oscar for his lead role in "My Left Foot." The movie was based loosely on muckraker Upton Sinclair's book, "Oil." Thirty-seven-year-old director, Paul Thomas Anderson, also distinguished himself again with this memorable movie, his fifth.

The Daniel Day-Lewis character, Daniel Plainview, is a shrewd, ambitious and ruthless wildcatter who let nothing and no one stand in the way of his success in finding and exploiting oil in the California boom. His indelible character rivals that of Orson Welles's Kane, Brando's Kurtz or Gregory Peck's Ahab. A Paul Thomas Anderson-Daniel Day-Lewis remake might well surpass John Huston-Gregory Peck's classic "Moby Dick."

I liked just about everything about the movie, especially the stunning cinematography, the incredible oil rig and turn-of-the-century California sets which must have cost a bundle. Some found the score a bit overpowering, but I liked it.

"There Will Be Blood" invites comparison with two other 2007 movie explorations of evil--"No Coutry for Old Men" and "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead." Of the three my favorite is "Before the Devil" because the main character and Paul Seymour Hoffman's portrayal are more nuanced than either Bardem's bogey man character in "No Country for Old Men" or Daniel Plainview. Plainview, Kurtz, Kane and Ahab are archetypes not likely to to be encountered next door or around the corner in the neighborhood. In contrast, Lumet's Philip Seymour Hoffman character in "Before the Devil" is a character that could be a member of your church congregation, sailing club or town treasurer--the kind of individual one reads about every day in the local newspaper, an ordinary citizen who is discovered to be embezzling church funds or doing some other evil deed to feed a gambling or drug habit. Paul Thomas Anderson will be a great director some day, but he's not yet the equal of Sidney Lumet at age 83.

"There Will Be Blood" or "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" are two of the best movies of 2007. Both will be strong contenders for the best actor, best director and other Academy Award categories. Evangelical Bush Republicans are not likely to be fond ot "There Will Be Blood's" unflattering depiction of an unscrupulous evangelist preacher and the ruthless oil man. "Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose."

"There Will Be Blood" Trailer

Marlon Brando Col. Kurtz in "Apocalypse Now"

Gregory Peck's Captain Ahab

Citizen Kane Lost Out Take

Orson Welles--Call Me Ishmael (Better clip)

Orson Welles "Citizen Kane"


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    • TurnipTornado profile image


      9 years ago from Michigan

      I haven't seen Before the Devil but I know the director.  We read No Country for class and I wrote an essay about how Chigurh was an agent of fate. I was frustrated at first at his power, that he never got beaten. But that's the point of the book. People like Sherrif Bell can't beat people like Chigurh. I think it's saying a lot about today's society...especially about the west and morals and postmodernism. The book is fantastic.

      oh yeah, and I agree that a movie does not have to "say" something, it can just tell a story. Totally. But I felt TWBB was trying to say something.

    • Ralph Deeds profile imageAUTHOR

      Ralph Deeds 

      9 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Well, perhaps it was just a tale about an unusual, Captain Ahab-like oil man (John D. Rockefeller?). I thought "No Country for Old Men" was over-rated because it told the story of a freak and offered no clue to his motivation to kill for no apparent reason other than perhaps his own entertainment. As I opined above "Before the Devil" was more interesting because the characters were more ordinary people whose motives were explored in the movie. I haven't read "Oil." Maybe I'll see if my local library has a copy.

    • TurnipTornado profile image


      9 years ago from Michigan

      What do you think this movie was trying to say? I consider No Country for Old Men to be remarkably better, though TWBB was beautiful. And I love a beautiful movie. It was just so pessimistic. The Coen Brothers at least left their ending to be interpreted, as McCarthy did in the book. I haven't read Oil! Is it good?

    • jormins profile image


      10 years ago from Chicago, IL

      I just got this movie a few weeks ago from Netflix and I am kicking myself for waiting so long. This is one of the best movies I have ever seen. Lewis reminded me of my favorite role of his as "The Butcher" in Gangs of New York, he truly is an excellent actor. I'll have to check out "Before The Devil" as I loved No Country as well. 2007 proved to be a very good year for movies.

    • Ralph Deeds profile imageAUTHOR

      Ralph Deeds 

      10 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Thanks for the comments.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      He is not Irish. He is British as he clearly states, but has dual citizenship and chooses to live in Ireland half time with his wife and kids. The other half is in NYC/Conn. Just the best living actor in the world.

    • thooghun profile image

      James Nelmondo 

      11 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Day-Lewis has got to be one of my favorite actors ever. He is simple amazing in most of his films I've seen. Last of the mohicans, the boxer,in the name of the rose, and I loved him in Streets of New york. his character was what made the film for me!

    • Paul Edmondson profile image

      Paul Edmondson 

      11 years ago from Burlingame, CA

      Ralph, Thanks for the review. This is on my list of movies to see.

    • MrMarmalade profile image


      11 years ago from Sydney

      I saw this film and even in those day i rated it highly. Thanks for the memory.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Bah, it ate the rest of my comment. He was indeed great in 'my left foot', also in 'the crucible' 'the boxer' 'unbearable lightness' 'in the name of the father' and 'gangs of new york'. he does indeed pick his roles carefully and well.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      this one sounds really interesting - I'll have to look for it.  I'm quite a daniel day-lewis fan and enough to know this too, he's Irish. :D

      "Assumed Irish citizenship. Moved to County Wicklow, Ireland in 1993."


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