Fourteen and a half minutes pass before there's any dialogue in There Will Be Blood and the film's soundtrack seems lifted from a horror picture. The runtime is just over two and a half action-less hours, yet there's something strangely appealing about this dark story following a turn-of-the-20th century self-made oil magnate. The praise goes to Daniel Day-Lewis, who won a Best Actor Oscar for this performance.
Widower Daniel Plainview (Day-Lewis) is a gruff frontier prospector. With a young son by his side, he learns the ins and outs of drilling for oil through trial and error. Plainview develops a successful operation, but the rural site of one well, led by a pious young minister (Paul Dano, Little Miss Sunshine), tries Plainview's determination and consumes most of the rest of his life.
Like most memorable films, this one is difficult to categorize thematically. Most of the characters are highly unlikable, Plainview chief among them. The mismatched music creates a further air of confusion. And though Day-Lewis' and Dano's performances teeter on brilliance, this film will be a very hard sell to the masses—much like director Paul Thomas Anderson's (Punch Drunk Love, Boogie Nights) other work. If you give it a rent, prepare to feel a little unsettled upon completion.
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