Part of the 100 Greatest Movies I’ve Ever Seen list.
There Will Be Blood
dir. Paul Thomas Anderson (2007) scr. Paul Thomas Anderson based on Oil! by Upton Sinclair cin. Robert Elswitt with Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano, Kevin J. O’Connor, Ciaran Hinds
In 100 words: A formal masterpiece that marries Anderson’s brainy auteur sensibilities with an epic takedown of American capitalism and religion, its bombast at first feels overpowering. The film is dripping with religious symbolism that is perverted by its close association with capitalism, giving us perhaps the most perfect take on the state of America in Daniel Plainview. Blood wears its influences well, from Welles to Fonda and Huston, but it is still undeniably modern because of its jagged inventive score, its sun-draped cinematography, and its unsparing depiction of this one man’s ego and his descent into madness. Day Lewis is unimprovably great.
Other Movies for Context: P.T. Anderson is a rock star among young movie lovers, I would think. I loved Boogie Nights (1997) and The Master (2011), found Hard Eight (1995) too remote, and Punch Drunk Love (2003) too odd. But his filmography is worth mining for all its details and intricacies.