Photobucket“There will be Oscar Gold”

_ There will be Blood _ Title: There will be Blood

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Hopkins as Dr. Lecter. Nicholson as Jack Torrance. Bogart as Sam Spade. Brando as Vito Corleone. It is hard to picture anyone else in these roles. Once you see There Will be Blood you will forever associate Daniel Day-Lewis as Daniel Plainview. Lewis is text book perfect in this role and does a lot to save what may otherwise be a forgettable film. You will be so engaged by Plainview that you will overlook the lapses of plot. Is this a terrific film thanks to the performance of its cast or, quite possibly, is it a magnificent film on its own but is shadowed by the performances within? They truly are that good.

Daniel Plainview (Lewis) is a Texas oilman in the early 1900’s who has a knack for drilling. He has made his fortune by finding, hording and manipulating this early business venture. He is a greedy individual who has little regard for mankind past what it can do to aid him in his pursuits. When he gets a tip from a young evangelist (Paul Dano) he finds that to succeed he has to deal first hand with the very humanity he is trying to escape. As the film progresses over several years we see Plainview at his worst while doing what he does best. As he sucks you along part of you wants to see some sort of repentance and discovery for his character. There is an underlying tremor in him that is volatile and Lewis plays it to the point of madman.

Paul Dano has so far been overlooked in the awards categories for this film and I am not sure why that is. Dano is possibly one of the stronger young actors out there today. With brooding qualities in the vain of a Sean Penn or Edward Norton, Dano has an inner anger that puts his characters on the edge. His performance as a charismatic preacher is something right out of Children of the Corn and is as eerie as it is forceful. As Plainview’s antagonist he is perfect. There is a church scene with Dano and Lewis that plays like a dance between two control hungry individuals and uses the power of religion and man in a way I have never witnessed on screen before.

Based on the Upton Sinclair novel, There will be Blood is written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson who has been pretty much non-existent since his award winning film Magnolia. He adapts and leads a unique film this time around, but again I think the strength of it lies in the performances of its cast. You remove these character portrayals and I am not sure what else you have. The story had a few holes and skipped around in what at times felt like lost wanderings. There were so many nuggets of opportunity that I wished would have been expounded more. It is a wonderful piece of movie making but I wanted more of my questions answered. And in that it fell short.

There will be blood is rated R for some violence. It has a dark vein that runs through it but other than some rare, mild, adult language it is a tame film. This is a must see film for anyone who loves the art of film making. Think of a song that sincerely moves you with emotion and compare it to a commercial jingle. Both are simply music and lyrics. But one has a way of moving you. It is powerful in its story and delivery. That is the result here. It is lengthy at 158 minutes but doesn’t drag despite its lack of action. I give it 4 out of 5. It is worth every award nomination thrown its way, and some that weren’t.

Matt Mungle (matt@mungleshow.com)(1/03/08)

“Matt is a member of the North Texas Film Critics Association (NTFCA) and co-hosts a weekly radio feature, The Mungles on Movies, with his wife Cindy. For additional reviews, interview clips and great DVD giveaways, visit the website www.mungleshow.com”

Review copyright 2007 Mungleshow Productions. Used by Permission.

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