There Will Be Blood (R)

Drama 158 January 18, 2008
By J.hoberman
A great, brooding thundercloud of a movie, Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood recounts the tale of a ferociously successful wildcat oil driller with the allegorical handle Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis). This fantastically self-willed man travels the West with a small boy (Dillon Freasier), whom he introduces as his partner and son. Attempting to convince squabbling landowners to lease their property for oil exploration, Plainview presents himself as a progressive businessman who jovially proposes to improve and enrich the entire community. The narrative proper begins when a mysterious youth named Paul Sunday (Paul Dano) appears out of the night to tip Daniel off to an unexploited oil field on his family's land back in the hills. He then disappears from the movie — or, rather, he reappears in those hills as his twin brother, Eli (also Dano), a precocious, charismatic faith healer "sucking out" arthritis from an old lady's arm the way Daniel sucks black gold out of the earth. This story of profits versus prophets could also be articulated as a death-struggle identification between the two. There's hardly a dull moment. Digs collapse, gushers burst into flame, God metes out punishment, and so does man. This is truly a work of symphonic aspirations and masterful execution.
Paul Thomas Anderson Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano, Kevin J. O'Connor, Ciarán Hinds, Russell Harvard, Paul F. Tompkins, Jim Meskimen, John Kerry, January Welsh, Colleen Foy Paul Thomas Anderson, Upton Sinclair Scott Rudin Paramount Vantage

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