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There Will Be Blood

Release Date: 
Star Rating: 
9 out of 10
Sometimes they save the really good stuff for last. There Will Be Blood is easily one of the year's best movies, an effing masterpiece from writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson. You won't be able to shake this one off. The movie is partially based on the 1927 novel Oil! by Upton Sinclair; Anderson takes the first third of that book and tells the story of Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis), a silver miner who stumbles onto some black gold one day and can't get it out of his blood. Using any means available, he will succeed in his efforts, and as this epic look at the beginnings of the California Oil Industry unsprawls, we see that he has become an enormously wealthy entrepreneur with little regard for the human condition who will step on anyone who gets in his way. He knows what he wants and is driven by ego and naked ambition, but the one-man corporate nightmare is stopped in his tracks upon meeting a young evangelist named Eli Sunday (Paul Dano, a revelation), who is a member of the family Plainview is trying to swindle. Eli certainly can see what's on his agenda, even if the rather lamebrain family can't. The odd relationship between these two keeps recurring throughout, but TWBB is really a one-man show, and that show belongs to Daniel Day-Lewis, who delivers a chilling portrait of greed. He can be charming, cunning, terrifying, and pathetic—sometimes all at once. This is a landmark performance, one for the ages. The final scene coming some two and a half hours into the picture will leave you exhausted and debilitated, which is probably just what the director intended. It's a big, tough, and totally compelling saga, the kind of rich American event film, uncomfortable to watch at times, that still must not be missed under any circumstance. With echoes of such Hollywood classics as Giant, Chinatown, and even Citizen Kane, it ultimately stands on its own as a unique and towering cinematic classic like no other.