Josh Keown 🧛🏻♂️’s review published on Letterboxd:
"I have a competition in me. I want no one else to succeed. I hate most people."
- Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day Lewis)
Once, every so often, a film comes along that just makes you say ‘Wow’. A film so astonishingly excellent, you cannot quite believe your eyes. There Will Be Blood is one such example, perhaps the finest example in many a year. Films of this quality very rarely come along.
Daniel Day Lewis is the backbone of the film, the anchor that cements all the other perfect elements into place. He is the heart and soul, the driving force behind everything. To say his performance is phenomenal doesn’t even do it justice. He creates what is arguably one of the most iconic characters of all time, immortalising his name as a Hollywood great forever.
Daniel Plainview is an individual of many, many layers, and Lewis captures every facet of his being to perfection. The all-too human lust for power, the greed, fear, insanity, loneliness, all of it embodied through Lewis, and sealed in time as one of the most outstanding performances of all time.
Today we talk of Brando in The Godfather, or Bogart in Casablanca. One day, if not even now, people will talk of Day Lewis in There Will Be Blood with the same reverence.
Unlike some films, the supporting cast do not detract from the experience at all, but rather enhance it. They complement and intensify Day Lewis’s breath-taking performance. Paul Dano more than holds his own as Eli Sunday, and Dillon Freasier is great as HW.
The cinematography is marvellous. Director of photography Robert Elswit works wonders with a camera, an irresistible, almost magical, depiction of life itself. Jonny Greenwood lends a haunting yet beautiful score to the events. I'm not even sure how to put it in words, it all just feels right.
Somehow, its grandiosity never gets the better of it. The tale it crafts truly is a sprawling epic, and could have overwhelmed the entire film. But somehow, be it Anderson’s truly astonishing direction, Day Lewis’s unbelievably magnificent performance, or the stunningly accurate portrait it paints of man, it never does.
The complexity of Blood is stunning. The story is multi-layered, the characters intricate and of intelligent design, and there are countless themes and interpretations to be found in the material. It confronts the very essence of our humanity, the make-up of Man in its wonderful, yet also sickening, beauty. It’s uncompromising and bleak, but crafts a very realistic image of what it is to be human.
Technically impressive, emotionally stirring, and an unequivocal masterpiece of cinema. Paul Anderson’s vision is translated in extraordinary style. I think I might need to take some time to recover. There is an almost bewildering amount to write about on Blood. I really haven’t done it justice in this review. Besides, Adam Cook and SilentJoe13 have explored it perfectly already.
I will finish by saying There Will Be Blood is enough to render even the most hardened critic utterly speechless. This is cinema at its very finest.
VERDICT; I can honestly say, without hesitation, this is one of the greatest films of all time. I have come to like the term ‘effortlessly brilliant’ but never has it rung truer than here. More so than that, it has a timelessness about it. It could have been made 50 years ago, or 50 from now, it would still feel as powerful as it does right now.
Oh, and if anyone questions the quality of this film, I can promise one thing: there most certainly will be blood.
(I’m only joking there. Probably. Maybe.)
5/5 or 10/10