There Will Be Blood (2007)
IMDB Rating 8.1/10 158 min - Rated 12 Western | Drama
Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano, Ciaran Hinds Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Daniel Plainview (Day-Lewis) is a ruthless oil prospector leaving a trail of broken promises and conned farmers wherever he goes. When his search for oil brings him to the Californian community of Little Boston, local preacher Eli Sunday (Dano) becomes determined to at first understand, and later stop, the tyrannical Plainview. Although anticipated for a rare performance by frequently-retired acting legend Daniel Day-Lewis, this dark drama seemed to sneak up on audiences largely unawares. An instant classic of powerhouse cinema the film may be, but the importance of Day-Lewis in the central role cannot be underestimated. Plainview is a monster of stupendous proportions and utterly dominates the film, appearing in almost every scene. On the odd occasion he isn't on screen his spectre looms large over those who are, seemingly encouraging them to whisper their admonishments for fear of him overhearing from another scene. With his adopted son the supposed evidence of his being a good 'family man', Plainview wheels from town to town conning poor locals out of oil-rich land in return for empty promises and broken dreams. In Eli Sunday he finally comes up against someone who is prepared to challenge him, but the preacher proves unable to overcome such a powerful man (in spite of peddling his own neat line in hypocrisy and hogwash). As antagonist to Plainview, Dano has one of the toughest jobs in recent cinema in bringing Sunday to life. His BAFTA nomination demonstrates the exceptional job he did (even though Day-Lewis went one better and won the Academy Award!).