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Thoughts on There Will Be Blood

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avatar WillowDear
Level 29 : Expert Princess
A few days ago, I saw Paul Thomas Anderson's 2007 film There Will Be Blood, a best picture nominee at the Oscars only to be beaten out by No Country For Old Men. I can't exactly say that loss was undeserved, however, as No Country For Old Men is also a phenomenal film that I respect just about as much as this one. I wouldn't get angry if one were to say they preferred No Country over Blood, or vice-versa. And while it may be almost impossible for me to decide between the two of them, I have to give the slight edge to There Will Be Blood (for the time being), as I have a very few amount problems with No Country, but problems regardless; whereas, I currently have zero criticisms about Blood.

  Paul Thomas Anderson clearly crafted an ambitious film; it's a character study, while at the same time a commentary on the oil business, religion, the past and current states of society, and human nature itself. And yet, it never feels cluttered; all of it comes together naturally, the plot paving a path for numerous themes, metaphors, and allegories to show up without feeling forced in. The film is filled with religious imagery, but its subtle; unless you're decently knowledgeable about the Bible, it can be easy to miss some of the symbolism in the film. And even then, keen-eyed viewers may not spot every reference made to the holy book. I was only able to spot a few, namely relations to the story of Cain and Abel and a pillar of fire, but I am very sure the comparisons don't stop there.

  Of course, all of those themes and subtle references serve to enhance the story, and aren't exactly the core; what is the core of the story is Daniel Plainview, our protagonist, and I would not call it an exaggeration when I saw that he is one of the most complex and human characters put to the screen in the last few generations, perhaps even all of cinema. Combining Paul Thomas Anderson's flawless writing and Daniel Day-Lewis' flawless acting, the character of Plainview springs to life in an almost distrubingly realistic manner. He truly feels like a person who could exist in today's society, and lots of the commentary the movie makes is a result of him.

  While we may not always agree with the actions of Plainview, it's incredibly engaging to watch him do business; Daniel Day-Lewis is very charismatic in the role, and always takes the spotlight. He brings something no other actor could bring to the role, a deep understanding of who Plainview is; and he could be analysed for hours on end, I also want to mention Plainview's counterpart; or, reflection: Paul Dano as Eli Sunday. Sunday serves as not only Plainview's primary rival, but also represents Plainview himself in many ways. The best scenes of the movie are easily those which focus on the two of them; they dominate the screen, and it's a deeply symbolic and rich conflict that's impossible to look away from.

  I could go on all day about the characters, but I also would like to mention the other incredible aspects of the movie; a soundtrack and enhances every scene its used in; strikingly beautiful cinematography, lighting, and set design; some of the best editing I have ever seen in a film; and a perfect script (partially adapted from the story Oil!) written by the director of the film, PTA himself.

  With There Will Be Blood, Paul Thomas Anderson has created one of the most elaborately constructed and ambitious films of the 21st century, and it's a movie that I think everyone should experience at some point or another in their lives. It's one to think about, rewatch, and think about some more, and I think we'll still be thinking about this movie by the end of the century and beyond. On top of that, I believe Daniel Day-Lewis offered a legendary performance that single-handedly defined his career, as well as solidifying PTA as one of the greatest directors of our time.

  The work done in this film will go down in the history books of film, and I would give There Will Be Blood a 10/10.
CreditPaul Thomas Anderson, director of the film
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