There Will Be Blood is a 2007 American drama film starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Dano. It was written and directed by Paul Thomas and was inspired by Upton Sinclair’s novel titled “Oil!”. The movie tells the story of a silver miner-turned-oilman on a ruthless quest for wealth during the oil boom of the late 19th and early 20th centuries in Southern California. Ciaran Hinds, Kevin J. O’Connor, and Dillon Freasier are also included in this film.
The film was able to earn $76.2 million worldwide against its $25 million budget. It also received a significant critical praise because of the performance of Day-Lewis. Its cinematography, direction, and as well as screenplay also received numerous awards and nominations. There Will Be Blood premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival where it won the Silver Bear Award for Best Director and a Special Artistic Contribution Award for Greenwood’s score.
There Will Be Blood is considered to be one of the best films ever made and it was among the highest ranking 21st century films in the British Film Institute’s 2012 Sight and Sound polls. Aside from that, it was also named the Best Film of the 21st Century So Far in 2017 by The New York Times.
There Will Be Blood is a film of epic proportions, literally and figuratively as the film is about three hours. A three-hour film for most of us is usually an eternity, but as it happens these particular three hours went by magically, and I was actually enthralled through the whole thing.
The first ten minutes of this film was entirely silent—it’s a really nice head nod to the fact that this film begins in 1898 when films were still silent and beautiful in their simplicity. Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) decides to hunt for oil, a pursuit that takes over his entire life. The movie begins as he strikes oil and simultaneously shatters a bone in his leg, leaving him with a debilitating limp, but the man has still struck liquid gold and his dreams of drilling for oil have surged to a reality. While drilling his first well, he loses a man with a small child whom Daniel adopts as his own and names H.W. Plainview (Dillion Freasier).
Most of the movie takes up the time after Paul Sunday (Paul Dano) visits Daniel and says there is oil underneath the town in Little Boston in California. Daniel pays Paul five-thousand dollars for this information and checks out the prospects. Daniel and H.W. immediately find oil upon visiting the town and buy up most of the land from underneath the inhabitants for next to nothing. He meets an adversary in Paul’s twin brother Eli (Paul Dano) who claims to be a prophet and has a crazy church in town. Daniel treats this kid like dirt and goes out of his way to undermine and belittle him. It is amazingly hilarious to watch Daniel’s prospects flourish rapidly even though he goes against all known morality and into eventual madness.
H.W. goes deaf after an accident on one of the rigs and then Henry (Kevin J. O’Connor) shows up saying he’s Daniel’s long-lost half-brother. After Henry appears H.W. goes mad and sets the house on fire and is sent away to a school for deaf children to help him learn and cope with his disability. It seems, as though Henry is the ally that Daniel needs as H.W. begins to fall apart as he has to deal with becoming deaf. Daniel explains to Henry that there is more to him than a man hell-bent on success, but a savage man, cold to the core, that hates almost all people and is driven by his innate ability to succeed in the face of competition, especially when his success mean the decimation of all others. It’s at this point that you realize Daniel is a lunatic and a madman who is capable of anything if it means he will win. Later, Daniel discovers that Henry is an imposter and his real brother has died of consumption before he had a chance to make it out to meet Daniel. Daniel shoots Henry in the head and disposes of the remains.
Daniel achieves his goals and by the late 1920s is more successful that one could ever imagine. He lives in a brilliantly beautiful mansion, hidden away from the world. We find him shooting at things in a random room and looking absolutely insane. As a man, H.W. comes to him and says he is starting his own drilling business. Daniel goes bananas and screams at H.W. through his interpreter saying he isn’t his son and is some lowly orphan he took in to help manipulate people into selling Daniel their land. He disowns H.W. and continues to live alone in his giant house like Howard Hughes on a meth binge and it is absolutely fascinating.
Finally, the movie comes full circle and Eli comes to Daniel asking for a favor as he is broke and falling apart. Daniel tells Eli he will help him if he promises to admit he is a false prophet and that God is a superstition. Eli screams that he is a joke as well as God. After he does this Daniel tells him that he cannot help him and that the land he’s trying to sell Daniel is dried up and the resources have already been tapped. After this Daniel turns into a monster and chases Eli around his bowling alley until he bludgeons Eli with a bowling pin. Moments later his butler walks into the fiasco as Daniel sits near the body breathing deeply and asks if everything is all right and Daniel plainly admits he’s finished, and he is as his madness and greed have consumed him entirely—pressing him to savagely demolish his one last enemy.