The bad thing about movies like There Will Be Blood is that, more and more these days, they’re only given limited releases. They open in New York and L.A. and slowly trickle down to the rest of the country, where we, the Philistines, take a break from our NASCAR races and American Gladiator fights and head to the movie theater to see what real culture is like. I can’t afford to move out to California just to see all the really good movies. Maybe one day I’ll be there. Right now I’m not. So until then, I’ll shut up and deal with it.
Blood is a loose adaptation of Upton Sinclair’s Oil! Daniel Day-Lewis stars as Daniel Plainview, a successful oil tycoon working in turn-of-the-century California. One day Plainview is approached by Paul Sunday (Paul Dano), who tells him about an oil deposit sitting underneath his family’s ranch, just waiting for someone to tap it. After scouting the area with his son, Plainview tries to buy the land without mentioning the oil he knows is underneath. However, Paul’s twin brother, Eli, won’t be swindled and says they will sell the ranch for no less than $10, 000. Plainview agrees, and we’re off. From there, we see a power struggle develop between the two that will last for years to come.
I loved the movie. It’s rare to walk out of the theater not being able to think of something I would’ve liked to have seen done differently. Paul Anderson wrote a great script and Daniel Day-Lewis gave an amazing performance. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see him walk away with an Oscar this year. What I really think is great about movies like this is that they’ve gone a ways toward redefining the American western. The Assassination of Jesse James, No Country for Old Men (a modern western) and the HBO series Deadwood, are other good examples. These stories have taken the focus off the bang bang, shoot ‘em up stuff and made it more about the characters.
With Oscar nominations coming up, you’ll probably be hearing a lot more about this movie. If it’s playing near you, I definitely recommend dropping whatever unimportant waste of time you’re doing and running out to see it. A-