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Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Dillon Freasier, Paul Dano, Kevin J. O’Connor, Ciaran Hinds,
There Will Be Blood, by Boogie Nights director Paul Thomas Anderson, is a character focused feature, driven by a powerhouse Oscar winning performance by Daniel Day-Lewis, as the meanest man on film since De Niro’s Jake La Motta in Raging Bull. Anderson’s direction is visually impressive, but his score choices didn’t always seem to fit. The dialog is strong, but sparse (there is actually none for the first ten minutes of the film). The meandering story, written by Anderson, (based Upton Sinclair’s novel, Oil!)is interesting, but always seems to leave the viewer waiting for more to happen. It’s almost like a watched pot that never does boil.
Daniel Day-Lewis is Daniel Plainview, a turn of the century oil man, who arrives in little Boston, California on a tip. Once there with his young son, H.W. (Dillon Freasier), Plainview covertly explores the area, before using sweet promises to convince a ranch owner, Abel Sunday, and his forceful, but naive evangelical son, Eli, to lease him their land. Plainview then goes on to use the same tactics to gain control of the whole region, but he doesn’t prove quite as willing to share as he lead his new neighbors to believe.
Striking images, and a memorable performance from the always powerful Daniel Day-Lewis, make this film worth catching and will got it more than its fair share of attention on 2007 awards shows. Many will disagree with my view(what else is new?), but I see the story here as lacking focus and this hurts the impact of its ending. Still, a fine effort and worth catching either at the theater, or, later, on video.