As we close in on the end of our mission, there are films that are out there that are on my must see list and that is certainly true in regards to today’s film. One of the best actors to come out of the late 20TH century and well in the 21ST is Daniel Day-Lewis (The Crucible) and for today’s film we are watching There Will Be Blood which is based off of the book Oil! by Upton Sinclair. Daniel Plainview (Lewis) is a semi successful oil prospector who is looking for that piece of the pie that will set him for life. One day a young man by the name of Paul Sunday (Paul Dano) gives up some information on oil in California and it kicks off this story of family, religion, hatred, oil, and madness. The film also stars Paul F. Tompkins (Hell And Back) as Prescott, Dillon Freasier as H.W. Plainview, Ciaran Hinds (Bleed For This) as Fletcher, David Willis (The Good German) as Abel Sunday, Sydney McCallister as Mary Sunday, Kevin J. O’Connor (Peggy Sue Got Married) as Henry, David Warshofsky (Now You See Me) as H.M. Tilford, Hans Howes (Death Warrant) as Bandy, Russell Harvard (The Hammer) as Adult H.W., and the film was directed by aul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights).
Right from beginning to end, Daniel Day-Lewis is intense and he commands the screen like any great star. Can you believe that right now he has only 29 films to his credit? He’s definitely one of those actors that doesn’t need to star in five films a year which means he chooses his roles and this was made for him. He was definitely the star of the film, but he’s not the only one who shined in the film. Paul Dano at first is a little confusing because he is first known as Paul Sunday, but then all of a sudden he is known as Eli Sunday. I didn’t realize that he was playing two different characters, but his performance as an early version of a evangelist was brilliant. It’s a constant war between Eli and Daniel throughout the film, but it all boils down to greed on both their parts. The film was excellently written as the story flows nicely, but there’s more than just oil. There’s the family angle between Daniel and his son H.W. that is a big factor as well. One of the coolest scenes in the film is the oil well that burns up in flames which could have been looked at as a disaster, but is ultimately a blessing. If you want to see what acting is all about then you go on to Netflix and you check out this because class is in session and Day-Lewis is ready to teach. I am going to give the film an A for a final grade.
Earlier in the year, I had seen a movie called The Witch which I thought was going to be a scarier look into the Salem Witch Trials or at least that time period. Coming from Massachusetts, my interest in the subject matter has always been peaked and when I saw that The Crucible was available to watch, I immediately chose it for today’s film. The film follows the actual accounts of the Salem Witch Trials in which Abigail Williams (Winona Ryder) started. Abigail among other girls were caught dancing in the woods with the famous Tituba (Charlayne Woodard). In order to save themselves, they began to start accusing innocent people from the villiage that they had problems with which included the wife of John Proctor (Daniel Day-Lewis). The film features an amazing cast that includes Paul Scofield (A Man For All Seasons) as Judge Thomas Danforth, Joan Allen (The Bourne Supremacy) as Elizabeth Proctor, Bruce Davison (The Lords Of Salem) as Reverend Paris, Rob Campbell (Hedwig and The Angry Inch) as Reverend Hale, Jeffrey Jones (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) as Thomas Putnam, Peter Vaughan (Brazil) as Giles Corey, Karron Graves (The Good Shepard) as Mary Warren, George Gaynes (Police Academy) as Judge Samuel Sewall, Mary Pat Gleason (Basic Instinct) as Martha Corey, and the film was directed by Nicholas Hytner.
Now as far as The Witch was concerned, it wasn’t as scary as people made it out to be even though it was well acted. This film gave you exactly what you thought you were going to get and that was an account of all the horror that occurred in the town of Salem. The subject is still a sore spot in Salem, but it’s a history they no longer deny. You watch this film and you say how stupid could people have been back in those days and you must understand that this was a puritan society where religion was number one alongside greed and envy. I cannot begin to make you understand how amazing the performances in this film were and I was not lying when I said it was an all star cast. Daniel Day-Lewis is one of the most amazing actors to come out in the 90’s and he has provided us with classic after classic even though I need to catch up on a lot of them. All the performances in the film were absolutely fantastic and you should see it for that and the sets and costumes. The sets were amazing as it made you feel like you were in Salem in 1692 and the costumes enforced those beliefs. I also loved how they stuck the original script that Arthur Miller wrote as they stayed true to that. This was an excellent choice for me for today and if you ever want to learn more about Salem, start here and then travel to Salem for yourselves. It is such an amazing place to be and there is so much history. With that being said, I am going to give the film an A+ for a final grade.