Daniel Day-Lewis as Daniel Plainview
Paul Dano as Paul Sunday / Eli Sunday
Kevin J. O’Connor as Henry Brands
Ciarán Hinds as Fletcher Hamilton
Dillon Freasier as Young H.W. Plainview
Barry Del Sherman as H.B. Ailman
Russell Harvard as Adult H.W. Plainview
Colleen Foy as Adult Mary Sunday
Paul F. Tompkins as Prescott
Randall Carver as Mr. Bankside
Coco Leigh as Mrs. Bankside
Sydney McCallister as Young Mary Sunday
David Willis as Abel Sunday
15 Minutes: Pics, Research, Etc. for the Making of “There Will Be Blood”
Haircut / Interrupted Hymn
Dailies Gone Wild
The Story of Petroleum (ca. 1923): B/W Silent film chronicling the oil business in the 1920s.
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Spanish and French Language
Spanish and French Subtitles
Running Time: 158 Minutes
The following is from the DVD description:
“This widely acclaimed masterpiece and must see American epic features the Academy Award wining performance of Daniel Day-Lewis (Best Actor, 2007). Daniel Plainview and son are independent oil men, looking for prospects in California at the turn of the 20th century. They are challenged by a young preacher, Eli Sunday (Paul Dano), whose own ambition is matched by Plainview’s. Their battle forms the center of a scary, darkly comic historical journey into an abyss of madness.”
“There Will Be Blood” is rated R for some violence.
Like many people out there, I missed “There Will Be Blood” in theaters. But the Oscar buzz made me interested in checking it out, so I was happy to see it arrive on DVD. From the first few minutes of the movie I was hooked. As you may or may not know, I work in the oil industry in my day job (and I moonlight as a crime fighting DVD reviewer at night). The opening scenes of “There Will Be Blood” depict the earliest days of oil drilling. We see Daniel Plainview mining, looking for oil, using rudimentary drilling techniques, and braving the hazards of the job. In the oil industry today, safety is drilled into your head (no pun intended), so it’s amazing to see how the early oil men had tools dropped on their heads, faced blowouts, and even took a baby near open pools of oil. It’s quite a shock. So all of this stuff really hooked me from the beginning, but it made me wonder if anyone besides a geeky engineer would be into it. Seeing CS reviewer Edward Douglas’ review, he was into it as well, so I don’t think this is of interest to me alone. I think you’ll be intrigued as well, even considering that the first 15 minutes of the movie have absolutely no dialogue.
Despite the interesting backdrop of the early oil industry, Daniel Day-Lewis is absolutely amazing as Daniel Plainview. While he certainly is a dark, eccentric character like Bill the Butcher, you don’t think of this as you watch “There Will Be Blood.” Plainview is a bit more complicated as it’s hard to tell if he’s good or evil. In one scene he’ll lovingly bond with his adopted son H.W.. In another he coldly murders a man. This makes him a complex character that you can’t take your eyes off of. He’s supported by several impressive cast members. Dillon Freasier stands out as Young H.W. Plainview, Daniel’s adopted son. Though he’s frequently standing there stone faced, things become significantly more tragic for the boy as he’s caught in a drilling accident. Paul Dano also is good as Eli Sunday. Eli is a preacher with a massive ego only matched by Daniel. As the two spar, it becomes more and more apparent that Daniel and Eli are cut from the same cloth. The only difference is that one is from the oil industry, the other is from the church.
“There Will Be Blood” is an excellent production. The cinematography is impressive and the west Texas location is a beautiful substitute for 1920s California. The production design is also excellent as they recreate oil derricks and mines from the era. There were only a couple of things that I didn’t care for. One was the music by Johnny Greenwood. It’s frequently little more than a single grating note held uncomfortably long. It quickly picks at your last nerve and is hard to listen to. The pacing of the movie is also painstakingly slow. There are many scenes that just drag on with the characters doing nothing of significance. It’s no wonder that the movie runs over 2 and a half hours.
If you’re a fan of Daniel Day-Lewis or period films, then you’ll enjoy “There Will Be Blood.” Day-Lewis certainly proves why he won the Academy Awards for this role.
For a two disc special edition, this DVD set is shockingly short on bonus features. You get to see 15 minutes of photos and period footage that the production designers and costumers based the look of the movie on. Also included is a deleted scene showing the oil drillers retrieving a tool lost down the well. (Anyone that enjoyed the oil industry aspect of the movie will like seeing them “go fishing”.) Another deleted scene shows H.W. giving Daniel a haircut, but it’s quite brief. You’ll also find an alternate version of one of the scenes which shows Lewis doing alternate improvisation in a confrontation scene. Rounding things out is a vintage 1923 silent film documentary on oil production. It’s a pretty cool piece of history to see. Unfortunately, there’s no “making of” documentary, no commentary, or any of the other standard bonus features you might expect. Is another special edition DVD on the way?