Oil tycoon faces off with minister, religion in new film

By Ricky Simpson

There Will Be Blood

Staring Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano

Ominous faith, dire greed, persistence of family and the ability to choose which will define a person’s existence are among many cavernous overtones that tower over this Paul Thomas Anderson (Magnolia) epic about the birth of the modern nation.

In this turn-of-the-century drama, Daniel Plainview (Day-Lewis), a man who seems to be caring and sentimental, treks into the rising world as an ambitious tycoon. With his young son by his side, Plainview runs a modest drilling company and makes a humble living while passionately caring for his child. After he learns of a vast, untapped land spewing with oil, Plainview takes his company to the site in an attempt to make his fortune.

With the introduction of Eli (Dano), an adolescent preacher in the small community, the pressure of religion is dominant as Eli forces the will of God on Plainview and his operation. Daniel begins to lose touch with what matters most in his heart, and he figures out that the oil is slowly beginning to take over his life.

Anderson feeds the audience a handful of extremely important life decisions, none lesser than the powerful force of religion. Dano puts forth a powerful performance as the young clergyman of the town, and Eli gives Daniel the ultimatum to live his life: either be bathed in the blood of Christ or washed in the sinful slime of oil.

At times, it feels as though Eli has gotten through to Daniel and has convinced him to repent his devious ways, but at the same time, the viewer might feel as though it is difficult to tell how genuine Daniel is really being. This provokes two of the most powerful moments in the film, both taking place in the church where Eli fervently pronounces the value of Christ.

This film runs 158 minutes and is rated R for some graphic violence, strong language, and adult situations and themes. This film is compelling throughout and is probably one worth seeing a time or two.

Grade: B

Playing at Lexington Green, Kentucky Theater

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