There Will Be Blood

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 minutest of aspects. One that takes its viewers on an unforgettable journey and 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 unfailing accuracy.

A jaw-dropping work of originality, an immensely captivating vignette of greed & obsession, and a thoroughly intriguing character study that still remains in a league of its own, There Will Be Blood is a haunting portrait of family, religion, hatred, oil & madness that not only marks an artistic high for its writer-director but is the very pinnacle of 21st century American cinema and 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 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 his plot and demands more money. The rest of the film covers Plainview & Sunday clashing over matters of business & religion which eventually 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 script comes packed with interesting characters and is driven by their actions but where Anderson impresses most is in turning those pages into imagery in a way that exhibits his precise control over each aspect.

Coming to the technical aspects, every single element here works in harmony with the other and is expertly executed under the director's supervision. The desolate locations are reminiscent of the timeline it is set in. Cinematography employs slow zooms, steady manoeuvres, wide tracking or panning shots & long unbroken takes in ways that make this drama more immersive. Editing lets the plot unravel 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 which single-handedly elevates an already great film to an even higher level of greatness. Also contributing with strong support is Paul Dano who manages to hold his own against Day-Lewis' imposing act.

On an overall scale, There Will Be Blood is one of the all-round perfect films in existence and is certainly amongst the most flawless works of 21st century cinema. Addressing the themes of greed, lies, manipulation, obsession & power, it is an aesthetic, artistic & influential film that pushes the cinematic artform into newer realms, marks a massive leap for both its director & lead actor when compared to their previous works, and is filmmaking at its most perfect, genuine, complete, crystalline & pure. Strongly recommended. Multiple viewings advised.

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