The first reviews of Paul Thomas Anderson's forthcoming There Will Be Blood are in and critics are praising the film, based on Upton Sinclair's muckraking novel Oil!, as "magnificent," "beautiful," and "operatic." Pretty much everyone agrees that Daniel Day-Lewis's performance is a revelation, and Variety says he's "so completely absorbed in his role that it's difficult to imagine him emerging between takes as just an actor playing a part." Oh, one catch, though — the movie is torturous to sit through, and everyone who sees it will probably want to stab themself in the eye.
Variety's Todd McCarthy raves:
"Boldly and magnificently strange... Notably distinguishing the film during this initial stretch are its fulsome physicality, its linguistic distinction and the extraordinary originality of the musical score. Filmed around Marfa, Texas (where both Giant and No Country for Old Men were shot), pic presents a vivid, visceral account of the risky and sometimes dangerous labor it took to summon up black gold."
"There's no getting around the fact that this Paramount Vantage/Miramax co-venture reps yet another 2½ hour-plus indie-flavored, male-centric American art film, a species that has recently proven difficult to market to more than rarefied audiences. Distribs will have to roll the dice and use hoped-for kudos for the film and its superb star Daniel Day-Lewis to create the impression of a must-see."
InContention.com's Kristopher Tapley says it's great!
"Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood might be one of the most fascinating films ever crafted. It is operatic and sinister, all at once beautiful and magnetic in its depiction of a deplorable human being through and through... There Will Be Blood is a stark narrative that counts among the best films of the year for its sheer artistic brilliance and, indeed, defiance."
Well, "great" in a way that will make moviegoers want to cut their wrists:
"For some, it will be impossible to look away from [Daniel Day-Lewis'] performance. For others, the closest exit won’t be close enough."
Variety's Anne Thompson liked it too:
It is brilliantly written, acted, directed, mounted, and scored. Like the novel, it reveals a key aspect of the American character. The oil catter played by Daniel Day-Lewis — who gives a towering performance sure to earn him award consideration — is driven, powerful, tenacious, and greedy. He is the sort of man who made this country, and still does. But he is also deeply sociopathic.
On the other hand...
But the movie's dark, grim, assaultive nature, and the finale that does not offer any light in the darkness, will drive many viewers away, especially women. It's an art-house movie for smart people with strong stomachs.