By Andrew Harwood
Given the not-so-specific definition, drama film can be split into an array of subgenres. For the next few weeks, I will be focusing on just a few of them, starting with historical drama.
Historical drama can simply be defined as a film set in the past that relies upon historical context, drama and emotion to drive the action. Historical drama can also be referred to as “period dramas” or “epics,” dependent on the budget and scale of the film.
The historical drama subgenre is popular, given the overall popularity of dramas and history by themselves. Notable films are “Lawrence of Arabia,” “Amadeus,” “Dances With Wolves,” “Barry Lyndon” and, our film for the week, “There Will Be Blood.”
Written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, “There Will Be Blood” tells the story of silver miner-turned oilman Daniel Planview, played by Daniel Day-Lewis, and his merciless journey for glory and wealth during the Southern California oil boom in the late 19th and early 20th century.
As time passes, Plainview grows powerful as his true colors begin to show, revealing the ruthful, heartless, yet passionate businessman he truly is. But it isn’t long until Plainview sits alone in a grand estate with a diluted mind and blood on his hands.
Adapted from the novel “Oil!” by Upton Sinclair, “There Will Be Blood” opens with a 10-minute oil mining sequence featuring Day-Lewis and no dialogue. Backed by the picturesque Southern California desert landscape and obvious period clothes, “There Will Be Blood” sets the scene for the film in a delicate and aesthetic manner.
Progessive in its depiction of labor and union, yet wicked in its study of the consequence of power-hunger, “There Will Be Blood” holds its name in vivid detail and stunning image.
With a magnificent performance by Day-Lewis and Paul Dano as suspect Evangelical preacher Eli Sunday, “There Will Be Blood” is a ruthless story of power and redemption with infamous dialogue and beautiful cinematography.
Needless to say, “There Will Be Blood” is a work of art.