There Will Be Blood Screen 11 articles

There Will Be Blood

2007

There Will Be Blood Poster
  • While Punch-Drunk Love actively defied expectations of an Anderson film (and an Adam Sandler role), and There Will Be Blood is notable for not being made in the image of McCabe & Mrs. Miller, the man's empathy seems to be retarding as his artistry matures.

  • Paul Thomas Anderson’s fifth feature, a striking piece of American self-loathing loosely derived from Upton Sinclair’s Oil!, is lively as bombastic period storytelling but limited as allegory. The cynical shallowness of both the characters and the overall conception... can’t quite sustain the film’s visionary airs, even with good expressionist acting and a percussive score by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood.

  • The first half of There Will Be Blood, an often-silent meditation on the dirty process of dredging mineral wealth out of flinty ground in mean, godforsaken country, is one of the most compelling pieces of sustained filmmaking in Anderson’s oeuvre. But the film’s resolution, with Plainview cudgeling adversary Sunday into the hereafter, is as disappointing as the first half’s reveal of Daniel’s embittered core had been beguiling.

  • While watching, the [final] sequence struck me as so unexpectedly out-there that it felt like a last-second misstep, but, in retrospect, this bizarre, nasty, hilariously horrifying denouement now seems the ideal exclamation point for a film this focused on the suppression of grotesque inner impulses. "I'm finished," declares Plainview after his final, gory "triumph." On the basis of the ferocious There Will Be Blood, however, Paul Thomas Anderson appears to have just begun.

  • The feature film that follows, Anderson’s fifth, quickly introduces us to this otherworldly, yet finally, utterly American creation, who commands the director’s widescreen frames through the film’s running length.

  • The opening images of desert hills and a droning electronic chord allude to the beginning of “2001: A Space Odyssey,” whose murderous apes are part of a Darwinian continuum with Daniel Plainview. But the film is above all a consummate work of art, one that transcends the historically fraught context of its making, and its pleasures are unapologetically aesthetic. It reveals, excites, disturbs, provokes, but the window it opens is to human consciousness itself.

  • Anderson’s mastery of the medium has never been in doubt, but There Will Be Blood is even more impressive for the comparative restraint he shows here. He can still deliver a propulsive knuckle-biter when necessary, as when the young H.W. is injured by a newly erupted gusher and Plainview rushes into the muck and fire to retrieve him. But he also seems to have finally grasped that movies are not sharks that need to remain in constant motion or keel over dead.

  • Plainview and Eli are mysteries to us. They often converse as strains of an ideology at war with itself rather than human beings. Each man is a subject of capital to such an extent that it overcomes and replaces his humanity.

  • In addition to being the most visually striking of Anderson’s six movies to date,There Will Be Blood might be the most visually striking American feature of the last decade. Or two, or three: the money shots here are all big spenders, splashing across the widescreen frame like gushers or else slow-burning themselves into the viewer’s brain...

  • Grand in theme yet simple in execution, like the script itself, Elswit’s images fit, glove-like, the mood, tone and atmosphere demanded by Plainview’s onslaughts of emotion. Canted angles signal a loss of control. Quiet, sharp articulation signals a rarer moment of something like tenderness, as when Plainview cradles the infant H.W. soothingly soon after the death of the boy’s father.

  • If the Preston Sturges-penned The Power and the Glory inspired a more terrible account of America’s brutal capitalist striving in Welles’s Citizen Kane, that classic gave rise to Anderson’s still more savage rendering in There Will Be Blood.

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