DVD Review: There Will Be Blood.

There Will be Blood

Paramount Home Entertainment
SRP $34.95

Dir.: Paul Thomas Anderson

Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano, Ciaran Hinds, Kevin J. O’Connor, Dillon Freasier

There Will Be Blood is beautifully photographed and Daniel Day-Lewis’s performance is first rate. Did I enjoy it? Not much. It seems I am being flooded with films of late that are hyper-real. Stark and ugly to the point of (for me) distaste. This has long been the realm of fine literature (which is why I am not well read) and movies have jumped in more than a time or two. I don’t like them. I don’t require happy, happy everyone lives blissful ever after, but decent into madness as entertainment makes me cringe, and never more so than now. Brad Pitt’s peeling the varnish off of the Jesse James legend is very much of the same stripe.

I have said it before and I will day it again; if I don’t care about the characters I don’t give a tinker’s dam what happens to them. I tend to the cynical so I read or watch to alleviate this slightly. Give me a story arc that leads to redemption, not people drowning in their own sewage. Day-Lewis is exceptional as the ‘Oil Man’ wildcatting at the turn of the last century.

He is in every scene and commands the screen as few can. At first he seems alright, but soon we catch him shading the truth, and then outright throttling it. His running battle with preacher Eli Sunday (Paul Dano) is strong, but uncomfortable in a guest at their house while they argue way.

Is this a good film? I believe so. Do I recommend it? No.

Lee Crawford


Lee’s warning is a good one. Those looking for a film in which good triumphs over evil, or a man finds redemption should look elsewhere.

TWBB gives us a story that is all too real. Change the clothes and some language and it could very well be something from today’s media.

However: For those that enjoy stories about the perils of losing (or sacrificing) our moral compass for the sake of riches and/or power.

As far as emotional impact, TWBB reminds me of Munich. I saw it on Christmas day and, after heading home, curled up on the coach and pondered whether or not mankind could be saved.

Director Paul Thomas Anderson has repeatedly shown a knack for getting to the very core of characters. It is this skill that makes him one of the best directors alive today.

For bonus features, we get some standard fare in some deleted scenes (Which are actually interesting) as well as a couple of trailers.

Also here are a couple of far more interesting features: 15 Minutes: A silent piece that contains vintage photos as well as clips of what went into making TWBB as authentic as possible. This is very different from what most films offer up and is quite fascinating.

The Story of Petroleum runs about 25 minutes and is a silent film, from the 20s, that was made by the U.S. Bureau of Mines in conjunction with the Sinclair Oil company. It shows the ever-growing Oil industry of the times. I loved this glimpse into our past. I wish that more films offered up things of this nature instead of the run-of-the-mill “this is how we made this film and boy are we all proud of it” fluff pieces.

So while these last two featurettes are very interesting, the total length of the bonus features is maybe an hour. Honestly, I expect more bang from a two-disc set. I read someplace that Paul Thomas is no longer doing commentary tracks. If this is true, it is a shame. As I said, he seems to a knack for looking into the hearts of people and displaying it, warts and all, for everyone to see.

TWBB is, as we have pointed out, not for everyone. But it is undeniably a tour-de-force that will provoke emotions in even the coldest of hearts.

Jeremy Lynch
For more reviews from myself, Lee, and the rest of the Crimespree crew, check out the index of reviews.