Paul Thomas Anderson and Terrence Malick have something in common. Both are amazing directors, yet it takes them years to makes films. In the time the likes of Michael Bay churns out a couple duds, we are hopefully blessed with at least one film from one of these proficient directors. Well, “The New World” may not have been such a successful return for Malick but the opposite should be said for Anderson’s recent masterpiece, “There Will be Blood.”
Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day Lewis) is an oil prospector during the turn of the century who looks to strike it big on the fledgling market. Plainview begins mining in a small town when he is confronted by priest Eli Sunday (Paul Dano), who hinders his progress at every step, leading Plainview down an extremely dark path. The story is brilliantly told both technically through the camera and also through superb acting.
Daniel Day Lewis gives one of the best performances of his career as Plainview. In the first fifteen minutes alone, not a single line of dialogue is uttered and yet you get the feeling of how terrifying a character Plainview truly is. Paul Dano comes out of nowhere giving a brilliant performance as brothers Eli and Paul Sunday. Forget “Little Miss Sunshine,” this film will establish Dano as one of the best young actors of our time. One scene in particular that stood out to me is when Dano is giving his sermon and exorcises a “demon” from a woman within his fellowship. After that, I had forgotten about that terrible movie he was in called “Weapons” and I am hoping to see him in many more films to come.
The cinematography in this film is breathtaking. For example, when the oil tower catches on fire, it is one of the most amazing looking scenes captured on film, period. The soundtrack is something to applaud as well. Jonny Greenwood, of Radiohead fame, puts together an ominous score that adds so many layers to the film, making it just that more haunting.
This may be an extremely bold statement to make, but there hasn’t been such an amazing character study in film since “Citizen Kane.” I honestly can’t praise it enough. From the opening to the ghastly ending, this film will sit in the depths of your stomach for some time to come.
I really don’t think I can praise this flawless film anymore. Suffice it to say, if P.T. Anderson’s next film is going to be this brilliant, I have no problem waiting another half a decade or more.