There Will Be Blood was one of the finest films of last year – a bold and mesmerising drama charting the rise of an oil man in the early years of the 20th century.
Daniel Day Lewis won the Best Actor Oscar for his stunning central performance – the driven and obsessive Daniel Plainview, who starts off as a silver miner before slowly establishing himself as a hugely successful oil prospector.
But this was an unusual departure for him – unlike his last three films it is away from his usual San Fernando Valley setting, eschews most of his favourite actors (such as John C Reilly, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Julianne Moore) and has a haunting, other-worldly feel to it.
A lot of this mood is created by Jonny Greenwood‘s unusual and innovative score, which was shamefully disqualified for Oscar recognition.
Revisiting the film again on DVD is interesting, as the bold narrative jolts and intensity subside to deeper feelings about the themes of the film.
Although viewers may have theories on the film tied in with America’s current adventures in the Middle East, Anderson doesn’t deal in clumsy metaphors but instead creates a compelling take on America’s obsession with oil, money and business.
Given how outstanding the actual film is, it is a little disappointing that this 2-disc special edition is lacking a little in features.
For the third time running, Anderson has chosen not to record a commentary. Perhaps he feels it should ‘speak for itself’, but given the excellence of his commentary on the marvellous R1 Boogie Nights DVD his audio absence is still sorely missed.
That said, what is here is still very good. The feature takes up the first disc and the transfer of the film is superb – the colours, lighting and sound are all wonderfully reproduced.
But the extras on the second disc – whilst interesting – are a little sparse given the importance of this film.
Strangely, Buena Vista Home Entertainment (the UK distributor) have gone for a rather odd packaging which consists of folded card.
Although the design is nice, the way the discs slide out like an envelope doesn’t seem too practical in the long term.
Despite that, maybe we can hope for a beefed up special edition somewhere down the line. Until then, this remains an essential purchase for any true film lover.
There Will Be Blood is out now on DVD from Buena Vista Home Entertainment
> Buy There Will Be Blood on DVD at Amazon UK
> Official site
> There Will Be Blood at the IMDb
> Check out reviews at Metacritic
> There Will Be Milkshakes – popular viral video and a discussion board
> New York Times interview with Daniel Day Lewis about the film
> AV Club interview with Paul Thomas Anderson about There Will Be Blood
> Extensive article in American Cinematographer magazine on Elswit’s work in There Will Be Blood
> PTA and Day Lewis have a lengthy discussion with Charlie Rose about the film
> An interview with Robert Elswit and production designer Jack Fisk about There Will Be Blood