There Will Be Blood ★★★★★

It is extremely rare to come across a film that defines perfection from the first frame to the last. One that exhibits precision craftsmanship in even the smallest of aspects. One that takes its audience on an unforgettable journey & leaves them absolutely speechless in the end. And for me, Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood is one of those rare gems that fits those attributes with effortless accuracy.

A jaw-dropping work of blazing originality, an immensely captivating vignette of greed & obsession, and a highly intriguing character study that remains in a league of its own, There Will Be Blood is a haunting portrait of family, religion, hatred, oil & madness which not only marks an artistic high for its writer-director but is the very pinnacle of 21st century cinema that deserves to be ranked amongst the greatest films ever made.

Set during the times when America was just discovering oil, the story concerns a ruthless & cunning oilman named Daniel Plainview who tries to buy the Sunday family's ranch after being informed about oil deposits in the area but the family's younger son, Eli, sees through him & demands more money. The rest of the plot covers Plainview & Sunday clashing over matters of business & religion, which ultimately culminates on a devastating note.

Written & directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood presents the writer-director in sublime form and is a marvel of period filmmaking that I have no hesitation in calling his best work to date. The screenplay is highly character-driven, filled with interesting characters, yet where this master storyteller leaves the most lasting impression is in transitioning those pages on the silver screen with precise control over every single aspect.

Coming to the technical aspects, every single element of the film manages to work in harmony with one another and is expertly carried out under the director's supervision. The desolate locations are reminiscent of the timeline it is set in. Cinematography makes effective use of slow zooms, steady movements, wide tracking or panning shots & long single-takes to capture each frame in meticulous detail. Editing allows the plot to unfold at its own pace. And Jonny Greenwood's score is as fitting as it is unsettling & unconventional.

Coming to the performances, Anderson had already done an excellent job in carving out & refining the personality of Daniel Plainview but the sheer intensity & passion with which Daniel Day-Lewis brings him to life transcends all expectations, for it is a truly maddening, extraordinary & career-best performance from the revered actor that single-handedly elevates an already great cinema to an even higher level of greatness. And although his work overshadows others' inputs, he is brilliantly supported by Paul Dano.

On an overall scale, Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood is one of the all-round perfect films ever made, and is certainly the most flawless work of 21st century cinema. Exploring the themes of greed, lies, manipulation, obsession & power, it is an aesthetic, artistic & influential motion picture that pushes the cinematic art form into new realms, marks a massive leap for both its director & lead actor when compared to their previous works, and is cinema at its most perfect, genuine, complete, crystalline & pure. Strongly recommended. Multiple viewings advised.

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