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There Will Be Blood is a 2007 American drama film directed, written and co-produced by Paul Thomas Anderson. The film is loosely based on the Upton Sinclair novel Oil! (1927). It tells the story of a silver-miner-turned-oil-man on a ruthless quest for wealth during Southern California's oil boom of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It stars Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Dano.

The film received significant critical praise and numerous award nominations and victories. It appeared on many critics' "top ten" lists for the year, notably the American Film Institute, the National Society of Film Critics, the National Board of Review, and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. Day-Lewis won Oscar, BAFTA, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, NYFCC, and IFTA Best Actor awards for his performance. The film was nominated for eight Academy Awards including Best Picture, winning Best Actor for Day-Lewis and Best Cinematography for Robert Elswit.

Plot

In 1902 Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis), a mineral prospector, discovers oil and establishes a small drilling company. Following the death of one of his workers in an accident, Plainview adopts the man's orphaned son (whose mother died in childbirth). The boy, who he names H.W. (Dillon Freasier), becomes his nominal business "partner".

Plainview is approached by Paul Sunday (Paul Dano) who tells him about the oil deposit under his family's property in Little Boston, Californiamarker. Plainview attempts to buy the farm at a bargain price but Paul's twin brother Eli (also Paul Dano), wise to Plainview's plan, holds out for $10,000. He wants the money to found a new church in the Christian revivalist tradition. Plainview agrees and snaps up the available land in the Little Boston area, except for one holdout, William Bandy (Hans Howes). Oil production begins and an on-site accident kills a worker and later still, a large explosion robs H.W. of his hearing.

A visitor (Kevin J. O'Connor) arrives on Plainview's doorstep claiming to be his half-brother Henry and seeking work. Plainview takes the stranger in, though H.W discovers flaws in his story though he keeps the news to himself. The boy attempts to kill Henry by setting his bed linen alight. Angered at his son's behaviour, Plainview sends the boy away to a school in San Franciscomarker.

A representative from Standard Oil offers to buy out Plainview's local interests but the latter elects instead to strike a deal with the competitor Union Oil and construct a pipeline to the Californian coast. The Bandy's ranch is still a deal blocker. After spending more time with Henry, Plainview also becomes suspicious and Henry confesses that he was a friend of the half brother that died from tuberculosis. Assuming the worst, Plainview kills Henry on Bandy's Ranch and buries the body.

The next morning, Plainview is awakened by Mr. Bandy, who appears to be aware of the previous nights events. Bandy agrees to Plainview's deal but only on the provision that the latter mends his ways and joins the Church of the Third Revelation.

In 1927 a now older H.W. (Russell Harvard) marries his childhood sweetheart Mary Sunday (Colleen Foy). His father lives in a mansion with only a servant for company. Plainview becomes obsessed by his work, turning heavily to alcohol though business prospers. H.W. asks his father (through an interpreter) to dissolve their partnership so he can establish his own business. Plainview mocks his son's deafness and tells him of his origins.

Some time later, Eli visits Daniel. Eli now heads a larger church and has a radio show. It becomes clear that Eli is in dire financial straits and desperately in need of funds. Eli explains that Mr. Bandy has died and offers to broker a deal on Bandy's land. Plainview agrees to the deal if Eli confesses: "I am a false prophet. God is a superstition." Eli does so after much berating by Plainview. But Plainview answers Eli by telling him that the land is dry because he owned all the land around it and has already mined it from his land, explaining this to Eli using a hypothetical scenario where Plainview uses an oversized straw to drink Eli's milkshake from across the room. ("I drink your milkshake, I drink it up.") Plainview then goes into a rage, chasing Eli around the room with a bowling pin and beating him to death with it. When Plainview's butler comes down to check on him, Plainview simply says "I'm finished" before the film ends.

Production

Development

Paul Thomas Anderson with Daniel Day-Lewis in New York, December 2007
Originally, Paul Thomas Anderson had been working on a screenplay about two fighting families. He struggled with the script and soon realized it just was not working. Homesick, he purchased a copy of Upton Sinclair's Oil! in Londonmarker, drawn to its cover illustration of a California oilfield. As he read, Anderson became even more fascinated with the novel and adapted the first 150 pages to a screenplay. He began to get a real sense of where his script was going after making many trips to museums dedicated to early oilmen in Bakersfieldmarker. He changed the title from Oil! to There Will Be Blood because, "there's not enough of the book to feel like it's a proper adaptation." He wrote the original screenplay with Daniel Day-Lewis in mind and approached the actor when the script was nearly complete. Anderson had heard that Daniel Day-Lewis liked his earlier film Punch-Drunk Love, which gave him the confidence to hand Day-Lewis a copy of the incomplete script. According to Day-Lewis, simply being asked to do the film was enough to convince him. In an interview with the The New York Observer, the actor elaborated on what drew him to the project. It was "the understanding that [Anderson] had already entered into that world. [He] wasn't observing it — [he'd] entered into it — and indeed [he'd] populated it with characters who [he] felt had lives of their own."

The line in the final scene, "I drink your milkshake!", is paraphrased from a quote by New Mexico Senator Albert Fall speaking before a Congressional investigation into the 1920s oil-related Teapot Dome scandalmarker. Anderson was enamored with the use of the term "milkshake" to explain the complicated technical process of oil drainage to senators.

According to JoAnne Sellar, one of the film's producers, it was a hard film to finance because, "the studios didn't think it had the scope of a major picture." It took two years to acquire financing for the film.

For the role of Plainview's son, Anderson looked at people in Los Angelesmarker and New York Citymarker, but he realized that they needed someone from Texas who knew how to shoot shotguns and "live in that world." The filmmakers asked around at a school and the principal recommended Dillon Freasier. They did not have him read any scenes and instead talked to him, realizing that he was the perfect person for the role.

To start building his character, Day-Lewis started with the voice. Anderson sent him recordings from the late 19th century to 1927 and a copy of the 1948 film, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, including documentaries on its director, John Huston, an important influence on Anderson's film. According to Anderson, he was inspired by the fact that Sierra Madre is "about greed and ambition and paranoia and looking at the worst parts of yourself." While writing the script, he would put the film on before he went to bed at night. To research for the role, Day-Lewis read letters from laborers and studied photographs from the time period. He also read up on oil tycoon Edward Doheny upon whom Sinclair's book is loosely based.

Filming

Filming started in June 2006 on a ranch in Marfa, Texasmarker and took three months. Other location shooting took place in Los Angeles. Anderson tried to shoot the script in sequence with most of the sets on the ranch. Two weeks into the 60-day shoot, Anderson replaced the actor playing Eli Sunday with Paul Dano, who had originally only been cast in the much smaller role of Paul Sunday, the brother who tipped off Plainview about the oil on the Sunday ranch. A profile of Day-Lewis in The New York Times Magazine suggested that the original actor (Kel O'Neill) had been intimidated by Day-Lewis's intensity and habit of staying in character on and off the set. Both Anderson and Day-Lewis deny this claim, and Day-Lewis stated, "I absolutely don't believe that it was because he was intimidated by me. I happen to believe that — and I hope I'm right."

Anderson first saw Dano in The Ballad of Jack and Rose (in which Dano co-starred with Day-Lewis) and thought that he would be perfect to play Paul Sunday, a role he originally envisioned to be a 12 or 13-year-old boy. Dano only had four days to prepare for the much larger role of Eli Sunday, but he researched the time period that the film is set in as well as evangelical preachers. Three weeks of scenes with Sunday and Plainview had to be re-shot with Dano instead of O'Neill. The interior mansion scenes were filmed at the Greystone Mansionmarker in Beverly Hillsmarker, the former real-life home of Edward Doheny Jr., a gift from his father Edward Doheny. Scenes filmed at Greystone involved the careful renovation of the basement's two lane bowling alley.

Anderson dedicated the film to Robert Altman, who died while Anderson was editing it.

This film was the second co-production of Paramount Vantage and Miramax Films to be released in as many months, after No Country for Old Men (which won the Academy Award for Best Picture).

There Will Be Blood was shot using Panavision XL 35 mm cameras outfitted primarily with Panavision C series and high-speed anamorphic lenses.

Music

Anderson had been a fan of Radiohead's music and was impressed with Jonny Greenwood's scoring of the film Bodysong. While writing the script for There Will Be Blood, Anderson heard Greenwood's orchestral piece Popcorn Superhet Receiver, which prompted him to ask Greenwood to work with him. After initially agreeing to score the film, Greenwood had doubts and thought about backing out, but Anderson's reassurance and enthusiasm for the film convinced the musician to stick with the project. Anderson gave Greenwood a copy of the film and three weeks later he came back with two hours of music recorded at Abbey Road Studiosmarker in London. Concerning his approach to composing the soundtrack, Greenwood said to Entertainment Weekly:
I think it was about not necessarily just making period music, which very traditionally you would do.
But because they were traditional orchestral sounds, I suppose that's what we hoped was a little unsettling, even though you know all the sounds you're hearing are coming from very old technology.
You can just do things with the classical orchestra that do unsettle you, that are sort of slightly wrong, that have some kind of undercurrent that's slightly sinister.
The film also contains the cello and piano transcription of Fratres by Arvo Pärt, and the third movement from Johannes Brahms's Violin Concerto. The recording is by violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter with the Berlin Philharmonic directed by Herbert von Karajan.

The song "Convergence", which can be heard during the tower explosion sequence, was taken straight from the Bodysong soundtrack.

In December 2008, Greenwood's score was nominated for a Grammy in the category of "Best Score Soundtrack Album For Motion Picture, Television Or Other Visual Media" for the 51st Grammy Awards.

Release

Box office

The first public screening of There Will Be Blood was on September 29, 2007, at Fantastic Fest in Austinmarker, Texasmarker. The film was released on December 26, 2007, in New Yorkmarker and Los Angelesmarker where it grossed US$190,739 on its opening weekend. The film then opened in 885 theaters in selected markets on January 25, 2008, grossing $4.8 million on its opening weekend. The film went on to make $40.1 million in North America and $32.7 million in the rest of the world, with a worldwide total of $72.9 million, well above its $25 million budget.

Critical reception

The film received very positive reviews from critics. As of February 8, 2009, on the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 91% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 195 reviews. On Metacritic, the film has an average score of 92 out of 100, based on 39 reviews.

Andrew Sarris called the film "an impressive achievement in its confident expertness in rendering the simulated realities of a bygone time and place, largely with an inspired use of regional amateur actors and extras with all the right moves and sounds." In Premiere magazine, Glenn Kenny praised Day-Lewis's performance: "Once his Plainview takes wing, the relentless focus of the performance makes the character unique." Manohla Dargis wrote, in her review for The New York Times, "the film is above all a consummate work of art, one that transcends the historically fraught context of its making, and its pleasures are unapologetically aesthetic." Esquire magazine also praised Day-Lewis's performance: "what's most fun, albeit in a frightening way, is watching this greedmeister become more and more unhinged as he locks horns with Eli Sunday...both Anderson and Day-Lewis go for broke. But it's a pleasure to be reminded, if only once every four years, that subtlety can be overrated." Richard Schickel in Time magazine praised There Will Be Blood as "one of the most wholly original American movies ever made." Critic Tom Charity, writing about CNN's ten-best films list, calls the film the only "flat-out masterpiece" of 2007.

Schickel also named the film one of the Top 10 Movies of 2007, ranking it at #9, calling Daniel Day Lewis' performance "astonishing", and calling the film "a mesmerizing meditation on the American spirit in all its maddening ambiguities: mean and noble, angry and secretive, hypocritical and more than a little insane in its aspirations."

The Times chief film critic, James Christopher, published a list in April 2008 of the Top 100 films of all time, placing There Will Be Blood at #2, behind Casablanca.

However some critics were more negative. In particular, Armond White of the New York Pressmarker has taken numerous opportunities to criticize the film. In his original review of There Will Be Blood, White expressed that the "musical wit disguises the story's incoherence—its meaningless siblings, silences and opportunistic sadism", feeling that the film's finale was "confusing and slapdash" and "comes across as just secular-progressive prejudice and loopy, unconvincing drama". In 2008, White would explicitly reference There Will Be Blood as an example of "unpleasurable" film-making in his reviews of at least five other films. In 2009, White criticized the "toothless Robert Altman gumming" of director Paul Thomas Anderson, adding that Blood was a "symptom of everything wrong with the American experience." Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle shot out at the film's praises by saying "there should be no need to pretend There Will Be Blood is a masterpiece just because Anderson sincerely tried to make it one." Several months after his initial review of the film, LaSalle reiterated that while he felt it was "clear" that There Will Be Blood was not a masterpiece, he wondered if its "style, an approach, an attitude... might become important in the future."Although Carla Meyer, of the Sacramento Bee, gave the film three and a half out of four stars, calling it a "masterpiece", she said that the final confrontation between Daniel and Eli marked when There Will Be Blood "stops being a masterpiece and becomes a really good movie. What was grand becomes petty, then overwrought."

Top ten lists

The film was on the American Film Institute's 10 Movies of the Year; AFI's jury said:

The film appeared on many critics' top ten lists of the best films of 2007.





Home video

The film was released on DVD on April 8, 2008. It was released with one and two disc editions, both are packaged in a cardboard case. Anderson has refused to record a commentary for the film. An HD DVD release was confirmed, but later canceled due to the death of the format. A Blu-ray edition was released on June 3, 2008.

Awards and nominations

80th Academy Awards
8 nominations including:
61st British Academy Film Awards
9 nominations including:
  • Best Leading Actor (Daniel Day-Lewis) — Winner
  • Best Film (Daniel Lupi, JoAnne Sellar & Paul Thomas Anderson)
  • Best Director (Paul Thomas Anderson)
  • Best Supporting Actor (Paul Dano)
  • Best Music (Jonny Greenwood)
  • Best Screenplay — Adapted (Paul Thomas Anderson)
  • Best Production Design (Jack Fisk and Jim Erickson)
  • Best Cinematography (Robert Elswit)
  • Best Sound (Matthew Wood)
65th Golden Globe Awards
2 nominations including:
  • Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture — Drama (Daniel Day-Lewis) — winner
  • Best Motion Picture — Drama (Daniel Lupi, JoAnne Sellar & Paul Thomas Anderson)


Critics associations

Austin Film Critics Association
5 wins including:
  • Best Picture
  • Best Actor
  • Best Director
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Original Score


Australian Film Critics Association
  • Best Overseas Film


National Society of Film Critics
4 wins including:
  • Best Picture
  • Best Director
  • Best Actor
  • Best Cinematography


Los Angeles Film Critics Association
4 wins including:
  • Best Picture
  • Best Director
  • Best Actor
  • Best Production Design


Broadcast Film Critics Association
2 wins including:
  • Best Actor
  • Best Composer


Guild awards

Directors Guild of America
The Directors Guild of Americamarker nominated PT Anderson for the DGA Award.

Screen Actors Guild
Daniel Day-Lewis won Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role at the 14th Screen Actors Guild Awards held in 2008.

Writers Guild of America
Anderson was also nominated by the Writers Guild of America for "Best Adapted Screenplay".

Producers Guild of America
The film also garnered a "Producer of the Year Award" nomination from the Producers Guild of America.

American Society of Cinematographers
Director of photography Robert Elswit won the American Society of Cinematographers' award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography.

The American Film Institute's Top 10
The American Film Institute listed it as an AFI Movie of the Year for 2007.

References in other media

"There Will Be Blood"

In the media, there have been multiple uses of the title/phrase "There will be blood" to describe themes or subjects that have no immediate relation to the film itself. "Oh Yes... There Will Be Blood" was the tagline for the 2005 film Saw II, though popular usage of the phrase increased following the release of Anderson's film in late 2007. There have been numerous uses of the phrase, or puns of the phrase, in the press. Examples of the disparate subject matter to which the phrase has been applied include the appearance of the phrase on the cover of the February 18, 2008 issue of Newsweek, in reference to heated controversy within the Republican party in regards to John McCain; as the title to a feature on the teen vampire film Twilight in Empire; as a punned title to a Vanity Fair photo editorial featuring Emily Blunt; as a title to a New York Times book review about a memoir concerning menstruation; and many times as a title for print and web articles discussing conflicts between parties or products.

In 2008, "There Might Be Blood" was the title of two episodes of two different television programs, Psych and Gossip Girl. The phrase has also been referenced by the Food Network show Good Eats, in a July episode titled "There Might Be Oil," in which that episode's theme ingredient was edible oils. In June 2009, the USA Network television series Royal Pains aired an episode entitled "There Will Be Food." The Comedy Central TV show The Daily Show has made several references to There Will Be Blood, including a June 2008 segment about Midwestern floods titled "There Will Be Flood." The Comedy Central show The Colbert Report also used the phrase in February 2008, when host Stephen Colbert began a fake brawl with fellow television entertainer Conan O'Brien by yelling, "Oh, there will be blood!" On the comedy video website Funny or Die, a video titled "There Will Be Oscars" features comedian David Spade as Daniel Plainview, ominously warning against the cancellation of the Oscar ceremony due to the writers' strike. In March 2008, the comedy duo Smosh made a parody video for YouTube titled "There Will Be Pokémon," which illustrates the last part of the film. During season 25, the TV quiz show Jeopardy featured a category titled "There Will Be Blood Sausage." In August 2008, rapper Young Buck, formerly of the hip-hop group G-Unit, released a new track titled, "There Will Be Blood." In December 2008, the Floridamarker fight organization Mixed Fighting Alliance organized an event titled "There Will Be Blood." The frequency of references to the particular phrase prompted media journalist Steven Zeitchik of The Hollywood Reporter to proclaim, "There Has Been Enough."

"I drink your milkshake"

Some fans of the film believe Daniel Plainview's memorable quote "I drink your milkshake" will join the ranks of other famous film lines within pop culture. That particular quote has been used in other media repeatedly. In season 24 of Jeopardy, "I Drink Your Milkshake" was the title of a category about milkshakes. Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show and the 80th Academy Awards (for which There Will Be Blood was nominated for eight Oscars), has referenced the phrase "I drink your milkshake" several times on his show in response to news involving oil drilling, including during interviews with Ted Koppel and Nancy Pelosi. In February 2008, the night before the 80th Academy Awards, a Saturday Night Live skit featured a Food Network show starring Daniel Plainview (played by Bill Hader) and H.W. Plainview (played by Amy Poehler) called "I Drink Your Milkshake" in which Daniel and his son travel from state to state looking for the perfect milkshake. "I drink your milkshake" has inspired a There Will Be Blood fansite of the same name, as well as a YouTube video called "There Will Be Milkshakes" which features a montage of scenes from the film with the song "Milkshake" by Kelis playing in the background.

Other references

Other media references include the South Park episode "Breast Cancer Show Ever", which parodied the final scene of the film: after Wendy beats up Cartman, Mr. Mackey approaches and says "Wendy!" to which she replies "I'm finished" as Cartman lies facedown in blood. The December 8, 2008 episode of the stop-motion animation comedy show Robot Chicken featured a brief parody of the film in a segment titled "Just the Good Parts", which singled the oil rig explosion that robs H.W. of his hearing and the line "A BASTARD IN A BASKET" near the end of the film as the most notable parts of the film. A Daily Show segment used a film clip of Daniel Plainview speaking to the residents of Little Boston to poke fun at real-life Big Oil executives, while The Colbert Report utilized a clip from the film's oil derrick explosion scene in the segment "Aqua Colbert."

References

  1. AFI Awards 2007 from the American Film Institute website
  2. Schickel, Richard; "The 10 Best Movies"; time.com
  3. AFI Movies of the Year Official Selections from the American Film Institute website


External links




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