The Less Desirables Movie of the Week is There Will Be Blood and is brought to you by a/perture Cinema, the Official Movie Sponsor of The Less Desirables. This was a long, long film at 158 minutes. Just about the length of some recent The Less Desirables webisodes (just kidding).
IMDb lists the synopsis as: “A story of family, religion, hatred, oil and madness, focusing on a turn-of-the-century prospector in the early days of the business.” The film stars Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Dano.
The story is basically a showdown between perceived good and evil. Perhaps, also, how the love of money is the root of all evil; maybe even more so. A New Mexican silver miner, named Daniel Plainview, discovers oil in California and starts a small mining company. He adopts the son of a fallen mine worker and makes him his “business partner.” This gives the impression of him being a “family man.” One day, many years later, Plainview is approached by a man named Paul Sunday who tells him of his family’s farm and that there is oil beneath it. Plainview goes to check it out. He offers money to the father but Paul’s twin brother Eli demands $5000 and says it will go to the church he’s the pastor of. He’s an over-the-top preacher man who feeds on sheep who check their brains at the door.
An accident robs one miner of his life and the adopted son, named H.W., of his hearing. Eli comes demanding to know where the money is and Daniel beats the snot out of him; sends him on his way. Soon, a stranger claiming to be Daniel’s long-lost brother shows up and wants a job. Daniel takes him in, hires him and have good times together. H.W. doesn’t like his new “uncle” and tries to set him on fire by lighting the entire cabin ablaze. Daniel gets ticked and sends him off to a school for the deaf in San Francisco. Daniel gets suspicious of the brother and once he has him drunk he confronts him about lying. The brother admits to only being a friend of the real brother who died of tuberculosis. Daniel kills him and buries him.
The lone hold out in the community land sale, Mr. Bandy, where Daniel was collecting to make his fortune shows up and says that he’ll allow use of his land if Daniel goes to his church (which happens to be Eli’s) and be baptized. Daniel reluctantly does it and is humiliated in front of the congregation, being made to say that he was a bad man and a bad father having abandoning him. He does so but feels it’s worth it to get hold of the land rights that have been causing a problem in his agreement with Union Oil. Full speed ahead, now. H.W. shows back up and Eli runs off to do missionary work.
Fast forward and H.W., now an adult marries Mary Sunday, his childhood sweetheart and Paul and Eli’s sister. He comes and with a translator asks for a release from the biz so that he can start his own oil company in Mexico. That ticks Daniel off, and he reveals his history with the boy and calls him names and mocks him for being deaf. H.W. replies, “at least I’m not part of you.” Eli returns with news that Bandy has died and he wants to negotiate the sale of the land to Daniel. He wants to do so getting a lot of money from Daniel. Daniel has a surprise for Eli. I’m really just skimming the story, but it is deep, it is long and I think it is good. The story is quite worth the watch. I just wanted to demonstrate that a lot is going on; much more than I’m mentioning.
I did, however, think it was going to be more violent or bloody. It wasn’t even as violent as the television show Hell on Wheels, which was set around 20 years prior to the beginning of this film. Not that I need a bloodbath but with a tile like There Will Be Blood, you did expect to see more of it. The end was kind of graphic, I’ll give you that one.
The role earned Day-Lewis an Oscar for the performance. He was quite good in the film. It does take it a while to get cranked which is probably why Eugene E20ed it. Cinematography was great, the story was good. Sets, costumes and acting was great. Rotten Tomatoes gives it 91% on the Tomatometer with a user rating of 86%. It was directed by Paul Thomas Anderson and is touted as his best work. I watched the film on Netflix and I rate it 3 stars. I do recommend it, if you have two and a half hours to set aside.
What do you think of the film? If you’ve not seen it, do you want to? Drop me a line via the normal channels, Twitter, Facebook, here, etc. Chances are you’re reading this from one of those channels, just reply and tell me what you think. Also, give me some ideas about what to watch and review. I want you to be interested in my reviews, so make it something you like or don’t like and let me know.
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“I told you I would to eat you!” – Daniel Plainview