Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
Screenplay by Paul Thomas Anderson
Based on the novel, "Oil!" by Upton Sinclair
Currently #176 of the Top 250 Films of All Time on IMDb (as of this posting)
Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano, Dillon Freasier, Ciarán Hinds, Sydney McCallister, David Willis, Kevin J. O'Connor, David Warshofsky, Hans Howes and Russell Harvard
One of the greatest omissions of all time is that I have never seen P.T. Anderson's epic, There Will Be Blood. Okay, backpedaling. I saw maybe the first ten minutes of the movie and stopped, because the silence. After seeing and loving 127 Hours, it had long silences. I thought it was high time that I see this movie again. It was nominated for eight Oscars and won two for Best Cinematography and Best Actor for Daniel Day-Lewis. I enjoyed the movie, but it's not flawless.
During the height of the Gold Rush and Oil Boom in the turn of 20th century, Daniel Plainview (Day-Lewis) hit the big time by striking oil. He turns into a oil mogul that is buying up land to build oil derricks to pump out the oil. One day, Daniel is approached by a boy, Paul Sunday (Dano) about a possible place where oil is found near the family ranch. Daniel goes to where the oil source might be and tries to buy the land from the father, Abel (Willis) with a stipend to donate a large sum of money to church where son, Eli (Dano) is a minister at.
Sometime when I movie comes around, I would think that it is clear Oscar bait. I have that perception about a lot of movies. This movie feels like that to me. You have Day-Lewis who gives a grandiose performance. Has he ever given a bad performance? If you name one, I will eat crow. I understood why Plainview did some of the things that he did. He did some monstrous things, because I understood the motivations behind them. It was not like that in Match Point where similar actions happened. Daniel did deserve his Oscar.
The movie feels very epic in scope, but I felt that the movie was too long. One strike against the movie would be the pacing. There are some superfluous scenes that needed to be cut out.
The another strike against the film is Paul Dano. I have to say that I didn't understand why P.T. Anderson decided to make Dano play Paul and Eli where you see that Daniel was not surprised to see Eli looked like Paul. Paul was never mentioned again until the end of the movie. Dano was not in the same league as Lewis. It was a David vs Goliath situation and Goliath bitch slapped David. Dano was wooden in the movie. I didn't understand he let the person that was going to be Eli, Kel O'Neill go. I thought it was a big mistake.