Monday, February 11, 2008


Directed By : Paul Thomas Anderson
Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Dillon Freasier, Paul Dano, Kevin J. O'Connor

I'm sure everyone has heard all the buzz about Daniel Day-Lewis' acting performance in Paul Thomas Anderson's latest film and adaptation of Upton Sinclair's novel "Oil". I did before I watched the film and usually when I hear something that is so hyped, it tends to jade my expectations. Not so in this case. I'm of the opinion that Daniel Day-Lewis should just have the award sent to his house because it's deservedly already his.

Anderson goes in a different direction than in his previous films but even so, the intensity of each scene, each shot and each line of dialog is present just like in all his other work. Who can forget, for example, the drug deal scene in "Boogie Nights" with Alfred Molina?

The plot revolves around an oil prospector, Daniel Plainview(Lewis)and his son H.W.(Dillon Freasier)during the turn of the century in the American Southwest. Daniel is lead to oil in a small town and soon moves in to take over. Later, things get more complicated. A good example being the charismatic faith healer, Eli Sunday (Paul Dano), who is just as driven as Daniel.

The combination of a powerful actor and director makes for a satisfying yet at the same time, disturbing cinematic experience. One can't walk out the theater and not discuss this film. One of Anderson's strengths is that he creates fully realized characters and pulls no punches with their behaviour. It's as if the characters live and breath for their own sake and not for the audience's expectations of how they should behave. And Daniel Day Lewis, as usual, engrosses himself in his character, taking over the screen as he did in that seriously flawed "Gangs of New York". Thankfully, this time, there is no hackneyed Hollywood plot with Leonardo DiCaprio or Cameron Diaz to distract us. It's as if Lewis, in the film, is a sun about to go supernova with all the characters in orbit just waiting for the their moment.

Admittedly, this is not easy watching. It's a rather unsentimental portrait, but cinematic experiences like this don't come often and neither do daring, brilliant acting performances. "There Will Be Blood". See it! See it! See it!

- El Güero

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