Monday, July 7, 2008

There Will Be Blood

Last night I had the pleasure of watching There Will Be Blood, a recent film from director Paul Anderson, adapted from the book Oil! by Upton Sinclair.

The movie stars Daniel Day-Lewis as Daniel Plainview, a pioneering oil prospector who anyone could admire at the outset of the film. Despite setbacks and hardships he crafts his oil prospecting into a profitable business. Along this journey Daniel's hardships include the injury of his leg (he has to crawl out of the desert to stake his claim), the death of his business partner (leading to the adoption of his son), and his adopted son's deafening during the eruption of one of the wells. For the most part, he seems like the decent sort, but there are hints of his darker nature early on when he swindles a naive church-community out of their property.

After the injury of his "son," things begin to take a turn for the darker. His humanity seems to slip further and further away with each secured fortune. He later confides to his half-brother that he hates people, and only works for money so that he can distance himself from them (to which I can relate). His crimes become penultimate towards the end of the film (yes, there is indeed blood). It's a spectacular performance from an oft-lauded actor, and anyone with an eye for drama will be alternatively appalled and empathetic for his character.

I won't ruin the movie for you, if you like tragic period pieces. Suffice to say it is expertly filmed not as a period piece, but like a modern movie that just happens to take place at the turn of the last century.

The movie even has a moral that is fit for our time:
"Whenever you see an oil man, shoot on sight!"

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