Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano, Kevin J. O’Connor
Written and Directed: Paul Thomas Anderson
Studio: Miramax/Paramount Vantage
Video: Anamorphic/enhanced for 16:9, color, 1080p HD
Audio: English, 5.1 Dolby Tru-HD; Spanish, 5.1 Dolby Surround; French, 5.1 Dolby Surround
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Extras: 15 Minutes (the making of “There Will Be Blood”), Trailers, Haircut/Interrupted Hymn, Dailies Gone Wild, “The Story of Petroleum” (1923 silent film in HD, 26 min.)
Length: 158 minutes
We already reviewed the standard DVD of this blockbuster back in March.
The awards from many festivals have piled up for Anderson’s epic, including Best Actor for Day-Lewis, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Picture, and Outstanding Artistic Contribution for the Music. The higher definition display of the Blu-ray version is most appropriate for the many long shots of the Oklahoma? countryside where the oil man is drilling and taking advantage of the landowners. The Dolby TrueHD surround brings home the crushing impact of the well explosion that made the oil man’s adopted son deaf.
This time around I found Jonny Greenwood’s music and sound effects tracks more fitting and less disrupting – perhaps due to the improved sonics or just to hearing a second time. The string trios works and the Arvo Part selection fits especially well, but I still don’t understand suddenly bringing in a big climax from the Brahms Violin Concerto with Sophie Mutter as soloist (I incorrectly ID’d that as Dvorak before I viewed all the credits.) It was a surprise to view the old Department of Mines B&W silent film in HD – all the scratches, bad splices and damaged portions appearing in their hi-res glory. However, I think I learned more about the basics of drilling for oil than I did working for Standard Oil for six years. (All the extras on the standard double-DVD collector’s package are included here, due to the 50 GB capacity of Blu-ray disc.) I totally agree that the final scene between Day-Lewis and Paul Dano as the preacher is way over the top, beginning as almost a slapstick bit but suddenly turning lethal. Seeing the film a second time in HD solved some questions I had on a first viewing, but not relating to the final scene.
– John Sunier