Deborah Ross

Pure genius

There Will Be Blood<br /> 15, nationwide Juno<br /> 12A, nationwide

There Will Be Blood
15, nationwide

Juno
12A, nationwide

There Will Be Blood (oh, yes) stars Daniel Day-Lewis as Daniel Plainview, a late-19th-century American oilman whose own view could not be plainer: find oil, beat off the competition, buy the land, drill it, get rich. And that’s about it, not that it matters. It’s the genius — a word that should never be used lightly; which is why I hope you can see I just used it heavily — of Day-Lewis’s performance that will keep you with it. Day-Lewis is, surely, every actor’s actor, even though they all probably hate him at some level. ‘If Day-Lewis is making a movie this year, then I am not.’ Apparently, outside the industry Day-Lewis is also a talented cobbler and carpenter so, if I were a movie actor, I would be putting in a lot of orders for shoes and cupboards and I would be putting them in right now.

The film opens in 1892, with Plainview climbing down a ladder into a small silver mine and falling as a rung breaks — there is no sound for the first ten minutes beyond his own harsh, parched exhalations as he tries to heave himself up — and finishes 30 years later, by which time he is a crazed tycoon living in a Californian mansion, wearing a tattered jumper and eating with his still oil-soaked fingers. In the interim he has made no friends and has had no love affairs — there are scarcely any women in this; what is it about American directors and women these days? His only relationships have been with the baby boy he scooped up for a son, and with Eli Sunday (Paul Dano), a slitheringly sly evangelical preacher with a baby face and a grown-up agenda.

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