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In the hands of screenwriter/director Paul Thomas Anderson, Upton Sinclair’s novel Oil! has been adapted and transformed into THERE WILL BE BLOOD ($40)- an intensely unflinching fictional biopic in the vein of CITIZEN KANE. Sure, Anderson’s cinematic approach is totally different from that of Orson Welles, but THERE WILL BE BLOOD is another mesmerizing film that will also stand the test of time. Also to the film’s credit, Daniel Day-Lewis took home a much-deserved Academy Award for his portrayal of oil baron Daniel Plainview, a cold-hearted man who is virtually devoid of redeeming qualities. In typical fashion, Day-Lewis immerses himself in his character and brings to life a highly flawed individual that is almost totally lacking in basic humanity. In Daniel Plainview’s mindset, the universe revolves around him, and he is not above lying, cheating, intimidating, humiliating and murdering to get everything he wants and feels he deserves. Daniel Plainview is not a pleasant man, nor a pleasant character, yet Day-Lewis keeps the audience riveted to their chairs for the film’s two and a half hour run time.

THERE WILL BE BLOOD covers a near thirty-year period in the life of Daniel Plainview, beginning just before the turn of the twentieth century, and ending around the time of the stock market crash. As the film opens, we encounter Plainview in his humble origins as a miner, who happens upon the oil business, seemingly by chance. When fate hands Plainview a son, the child becomes another trick of his trade; allowing the slippery up and coming oilman to present himself as a family man to those whose oil rich land he hopes to acquire. The quest for land to plunder for its black gold eventually brings Plainview to an isolated and overlooked community called Little Boston, where he encounters minister/faith healer Eli Sunday (Paul Dano), who sees the oil being pumped out of his community, as a means of fulfilling his own ambitions. Dano’s performance as Sunday carries the most weight in comparison Day-Lewis, especially during their run ins, which provides the film with some of its biggest dramatic fireworks. The cast of THERE WILL BE BLOOD also features Kevin J. O'Connor, Ciarán Hinds, Dillon Freasier, Paul F. Tompkins, Sydney McCallister and David Willis.

Paramount Home Entertainment has made THERE WILL BE BLOOD available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the VC-1 codec. The 1080p presentation is truly stunning and represents the best of what high definition can provide. THERE WILL BE BLOOD earned an Oscar for its stark cinematography, which is astonishingly well rendered on Blu-ray. The picture is almost always razor sharp and delivers excellent detail. Fine details such as surface textures, pores in the actors’ skin and individual hairs are all clearly visible. Long shots, which were a bit soft on the DVD, look great here. Colors are fully saturated and favor warmer hues for interiors; exteriors have a more stark naturalistic color pallet. Flesh tones are very true to life. Blacks are deep and whites are completely stable. Additionally, contrast is perfectly smooth. Shadow detail is generally excellent. A fine level of film grain is present, which enhances the overall look of the presentation.

THERE WILL BE BLOOD is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel Dolby TrueHD soundtrack. The lossless qualities of TrueHD enhance the fidelity over what was heard in standard Dolby Digital on the DVD release. As expected, the musical component receives a terrific boost from the enhanced fidelity, plus the bottom end of the track has more depth and more rumble. Comments regarding the sound mix itself remain relatively unchanged. THERE WILL BE BLOOD is a talky drama for the majority of its running time, so the sound design isn't particularly aggressive. However, sound effect placement in the outlying channels is exceedingly well implement during key moments, i.e. any time there is an oil strike. Voices sound completely natural and the dialogue is always completely understandable. French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 channel tracks are also encoded onto the disc, as are English, French and Spanish subtitles.

The basic interactive menus allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the supplemental content. There Will Be Blood: Pics, Research, Etc. is a fifteen-minute montage of materials utilized to recreate the era in which the story takes place. Two Deleted Scenes are also provided, as is an Outtake and two Theatrical Trailers. The final supplemental feature is The Story Of Petroleum, a vintage 1923 silent film that looks at the industry depicted in the film.

THERE WILL BE BLOOD is a tremendous film with unforgettable performances. The Blu-ray provides stunning visual quality, which brings out all the beauty of the Oscar winning cinematography. Absolutely recommended.



There Will Be Blood [Blu-ray] (2008)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2008 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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