thomas flew’s review published on Letterboxd:
This is a flawless film. Both epic in scale and intimately emotional, There Will Be Blood exhibits everything for which P. T. Anderson's films are so beloved, a beautiful and ugly portrayal of a flawed character and his destruction of a Southern Californian town.
Universally adored - and rightfully so - Anderson's fifth directorial outing equals his previous works, all of which are stamped with his trademark technical brilliance and memorable characters. In Daniel Plainview and Eli Sunday, an 'oil man' and a preacher, he has created two men both opposite and in many ways identical.
The conflict between these two nuanced and outstandingly performed characters are the undoubted highlights of this excellent film. Whether it be Daniel pushing Eli into the mud, Daniel's reluctant baptism in Eli's church - or that scene's reversal in the final act - the moments where Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Dano's characters interact are thrilling and tense, bringing out the worst in both men, but particularly Daniel.
Jonny Greenwood's soundtrack lends a continuous sense of foreboding to the film, making even the most innocuous of actions tense and worrying. This complements Plainview's erratic and nature perfectly, hinting towards the angry and violent side of his character which we see more as the film builds towards its legendary closing scene.
The only film of Paul Thomas Anderson to have garnered success at the Oscars - an institution seemingly reluctant to accept the American director's genius - there is a strong argument to make that this is his finest work. Although I will always be of the opinion that the vibrant and smart Boogie Nights is Anderson's magnum opus, I would be one to take anything away from this masterclass in direction, cinematography, and acting.
Shot on 35-mm film, which picks out the reds and blacks of the landscape perfectly, There Will Be Blood has at times the visual style of a Western, with the glaring orange sunlight and the sheer dirtiness of the desert fields coming through with stunning clarity. P.T.A.'s film is both modern and classic, perfectly encapsulating its era of the early 20th century, but also using up-to-date filming techniques and a brilliant contemporary soundtrack.
There Will Be Blood is easily one of the finest films of the 21st century, and despite being set 100 years earlier it still feels utterly current. Daniel Plainview's actions are capitalism in its purest sense, a senseless accumulation of wealth simply because there is nothing else to do.
I started this review by saying that this is a flawless film. This may seem a strange word to use given that it is in essence an exploration of its characters flaws, but I'm sure that's a piece of irony that P.T. Anderson is very happy to hear. Once again, the American auteur has stuck liquid gold.