There Will Be Blood is one of the greatest films ever made.
There, I’ve said it. By my own admission, it’s poor journalism to simply make such a fleeting statement in what should be a detailed, analytical review, but the fact remains that the latest from P.T. Anderson is a amazing piece of filmmaking and a modern classic.
Detailing the rise of self-made “oil man” Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis), There Will Be Blood sees him come to blows with Paul Dano’s megalomaniacal young preacher over control over a village sitting on an ocean of oil.
To say Day-Lewis deserves another Oscar for his performance here is an understatement. Plainview is a fascinating figure, oozing ambition, jealousy and charisma. Packing a distinctive drawl and awe-inspiring facial hair, Day-Lewis truly makes this manic, unrepentant figure his own. But Plainview is never demonised; rather than being painted as a mere grizzled anti-hero, what we have here is a flawed character that lusts for vengeance yet secretly pines for home. Day-Lewis doesn’t deserve an Oscar; he deserves a sainthood.
But just concentrating on Plainview almost makes this sound like Day-Lewis’ one-man show, which is unfair. He finds a worthy adversary in Paul Dano, whose frantic performance as an equally-ambitious priest is utterly brilliant. Anderson’s distinctly Kubrickian direction, meanwhile, is mesmerising, matched by equally breathtaking cinematography. Special praise must also go to Jonny Greenwood’s marvellous score; hauntingly thunderous and terrifyingly discordant, it succeeds in maintaining the unflinching aura of dread which surrounds the events of the film.
In summary, this is an epic- and I don’t use this word lightly- masterpiece which is as ambitious as its protagonist. Difficult, terrifying, yet thoroughly entertaining throughout, this is an instant classic and a career best for Day-Lewis. And for the bloke who played Bill the Butcher, that means a lot.