Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano, Dillon Freasier (his only acting role), Kevin J. O’Connor, Ciaran Hinds, Russell Harvard
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Summary: A story of family, religion, hatred, oil and madness, focusing on a turn-of-the-century prospector in the early days of the business
Other Nominations: Director, Actor (Day-Lewis)*, Adapted Screenplay, Sound Editing, Art Direction, Cinematography*, Film Editing
There Will Be Blood is a story of men using wealth and religion as a way of asserting control and dominance over their fellow man, where ambition is an end unto itself-it is truly the most American of films, one that reminds me in many ways of Citizen Kane and The Godfather Part II. Two things especially stood out to me: the first being Day-Lewis’ performance, where he exudes such an incredible presence from his voice alone and is believable as a man of intense ambition, but who can hide it well when needed, and the score which is extraordinarily unique yet totally fitting, and its lack of a nomination is frankly baffling. It also featured some really outstanding cinematography, although in a year with Atonement and No Country For Old Men, I am slightly surprised it won.
However, I still not sold on it being more than a very good film, that it’s something truly great film. Maybe it’s because of how slow it is in really getting going, maybe it’s because the final scene felt a little…too much? Going back to my first comment on the films it reminded me of, it sort of feels like a movie that wanted to be the Great American Film, yet other films have tread on the same subjects (the ultimate emptiness of naked ambition which leads to isolation and paranoia, family as the primary link to humanity) and done it better. Don’t get me wrong, in many years There Will Be Blood would have been my pick for Best Picture among the nominees, but this year I felt the Academy did get it right between two strong choices.