There Will Be Blood (2007) - 2-Disc Collector's Edition

Genre(s): Drama
Paramount Vantage || R - 158 minutes - $34.99 || April 8, 2008
Reviewer: Elyusha Vafaeisefat || Posted On: 2008-04-16


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Writer(s): Upton Sinclair (novel "Oil"); Paul Thomas Anderson (screenplay)
Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano, Kevin J. O'Connor, Ciaran Hinds, Dillon Freasier


Theatrical Release Date: January 11, 2008


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • 15 Minutes (Behind-the-Scenes Montage)
  • Deleted Scenes
  • The Story of Petroleum
  • Dailies Gone Wild
  • Trailers


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

The film There Will Be Blood is adapted from Upton Sinclair's 1927 novel Oil!. Director Paul Thomas Anderson himself had admitted that he did not really use the book as a blueprint but rather an inspiration (apparently he took only the first 150 pages or so of the book) for writing his script. That is the main reason why he chose a different title for his film versus the book. Having read the book, I can definitely say that the film and the novel are without question night and day.

The film follows ruthless oil tycoon Daniel Plainview and his son as they search Southern California for oil wells. As the film progresses, Daniel becomes so obsessed with oil that he is willing to do anything to make sure he gets every ounce. Of course it would be difficult to even begin discussing the film without mentioning the performance of Daniel Day-Lewis.

Back in 2002, Daniel Day Lewis came out of "retirement" to play the role of Bill the Butcher in Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York. After winning virtually every pre-Oscar award, Day Lewis had his Oscar wrongfully snatched away by Adrien Brody for his good but much weaker performance in The Pianist. 5 years later, Daniel Day Lewis once again came out of "exile" but this time as Daniel Plainview for director Paul Thomas Anderson in There Will Be Blood.

Watching his performance in There Will Be Blood brought me several flashbacks of his performance as Bill the Butcher. While the two characters are different, they share the same intensity, ruthlessness, mannerisms and even voice to some extent. The progression of his character from the opening frame to the last is truly captivating. It is rare these days that an actor is so selective in the films that he or she chooses. Most actors play two, three or even four roles a year. Mostly for monetary reasons as well. For Daniel Day Lewis, selecting a role to play is very similar to how a director might choose his next film. Day Lewis will choose the role, research it and then prepare for it for sometimes years. His dedication to each character is what makes his performances so memorable. Though he has only been in 2 films in the past decade or so, his performances in those films have been arguably the most memorable performances in the past 20 or 30 years.

While Daniel Day Lewis is certainly the main attraction, the rest of the cast does a superb job in supporting roles. Among them is Paul Dano who plays Eli and Paul Sunday. It's not easy to go toe to toe with Daniel Day Lewis in such an intense role like Daniel Plainview but Dano does an amazing job matching Day Lewis' intensity. I felt that Dano was overlooked greatly in all the award shows but he still a young actor with a very bright future ahead of him. I am sure his name will come up in award shows for years to come. Ciarán Hinds, Kevin J. O'Connor and Dillon Freasier also give great supporting performances in the film. Casting right for a period piece is something that is not easy to do but I must say that Paul Thomas Anderson and his crew did a fine job in selecting the right "face" for this time period in American history.

Anderson delivers without a doubt his most powerful, confident and most mature film to date. While I always felt that Anderson was a very talented director, his jump from films such as Hard Eight, Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Punch Drunk Love to now There Will Be Blood is a great progression and maturation as a young filmmaker. From the opening 15 minutes which has no dialogue at all (a great homage to silent films) to the final scenes between Daniel Plainview and Eli, Anderson had complete control and command over his film. The film became more of an experience for me rather than just "watching" a film. I felt fascinated with virtually every aspect of its filmmaking. I always find it funny when people will call a film an "instant classic" or a "masterpiece" immediately after its release but using those words describing There Will Be Blood, you won't hear any disputes from me. Everything from the amazingly haunting score by Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood, to the editing by Dylan Tichenor, to the great production design of and art direction from Jack Fisk and David Crank to the breathtaking cinematography by Robert Elswit, There Will Be Blood is arguably one of the best, memorable and most visually arresting films of this decade.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Of course a unique film such as this could not just have "standard" extra features like a "making of" or "behind the scenes." Instead we get something called 15 Minutes, which is a montage of photos, archival footage and research for the making of There Will Be Blood. There are no interviews with the cast or crew but instead we get to see a compilation of what inspired director Paul Thomas Anderson to make the film. In some cases, one can see that Anderson directly took a great deal from these vintage photos and archival film clips.

The next extras are a pair of deleted scenes. One is called "Fishing" (6 min) and the other is "Haircut/Interrupted Hymn" (3 min). Both scenes are great for the fact that you get to see even more of Daniel Day Lewis and his performance. I am not so sure that the film would have been any better or worse if these scenes would have been included. The next extra is Dailies Gone Wild which is a 3 minute scene that takes place in a restaurant. There is already a similar scene in the film but it seems like Anderson just had the camera running and picked up an alternate take of the same scene.

Also included on the 2 disc edition is The Story of Petroleum. This is a 25 minute look that highlights the operations of the U.S. Oil Industry in roughly 1923. The extra is of course silent and in black and white. Jonny Greenwood's score accompanies the short documentary was we see the extraction, processing and preparation of cruse oil for its distribution in the U.S.

Finally, the DVD includes the teaser trailer as well as the theatrical trailer for the film.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

The film is presented in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio and enhanced for 16x9 televisions. The film looks amazing from the opening to final frame. The distant, deserted feel of Southern California in the early 1900's can be felt throughout the course of the film. The audio features on the DVD are equally as impressive.

The film is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround with options for the same tracks in French and Spanish. While the film is obviously more of a drama than an action film, I felt the sound was one of the strongest aspects of the film. Jonny Greenwood's haunting score bursts off the screen and the few action sequences in the film come off very well in the audio transfer.



.::OVERALL::.

While the DVD package is slightly disappointing, the real highlight is owning the film itself. I would have liked to hear a commentary from Paul Thomas Anderson and maybe some of the cast and crew as well. That being said, I found it fitting that a unique film of this nature would include a unique set of extras. Instead of getting the standard interviews with the cast and crew, we get an inside look at what Paul Thomas Anderson used in researching his film. With yet another powerful performance by Daniel Day Lewis and skilled direction from Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood will be a film that will be talked about for many years to come. I just hope that Daniel Day Lewis does not wait another 5 or 6 years between performances.