There Will Be Blood

Daniel Day-Lewis delivers a spellbinding performance as Daniel Plainview, a turn-of-the-century independent oil baron prospecting in California. He is a ruthless man who hates all men, including himself. Plainview manipulates the locals into selling their land to him, and in the process, he makes an enemy of a resident preacher.

Based loosely on the Upton Sinclair book Oil!, There Will Be Blood is a powerful yet disturbing film that takes shots at capitalism and organized religion. The movie hooked me at the start, but as the laborious 158 minutes played out, I was thankful when it finally ended.

The film-like VC-1 encode will surely please most viewers. The slick presentation has virtually no grain with excellent detail and great shadow details. Black levels waver from scene to scene based on the needs of the photography, but the oil never loses its inky appearance. As one would hope, Oscar-winning cinematographer Robert Elswit's work translates well to 1080p.

With its unwavering support for lossless audio, Paramount has included a Dolby TrueHD 5.1-channel soundtrack. The musical score by Jonny Greenwood is an integral part of the story, and it's subtle yet enticing rhythms really pull you in. Dialog reproduction is clear, and imaging across the front is wide and deep. The surround channels aren't as active as they could be, with only the occasional discrete effects calling attention to them.

The bonus materials are a bit sparse, but given the movie's long runtime, space was probably an issue, especially since all of these materials are presented in HD. The highlight is "The Story of Petroleum," a 1923 silent film chronicling the oil business of that period with modern music by Jonny Greenwood. Rounding out the features are four production featurettes and two trailers.

In a year of violent movies, There Will Be Blood fits right in. Of the Oscar-nominated films from 2007, this was my least favorite of the bunch, but Daniel Day-Lewis' performance is worth the price of admission alone. Recommended, but not for the faint at heart.

Release Date: June 3, 2008

Film: 7 out of 10
Picture: 9 out of 10
Sound: 8 out of 10

Review System

Panasonic DMP-BD30

JVC DLA-RS1 projector
Stewart FireHawk screen (76.5" wide, 16:9)

Onkyo TX-SR606
Belkin PF60 power conditioner

M&K S-150s (L, C, R)
M&K SS-150s (LS, RS, SBL, SBR)
SVS PC-Ultra subwoofer

Monoprice HDMI cables (source to pre/pro)
Best Deal analog-audio cables
PureLink HDC Fiber Optic HDMI Cable System (15 meters) from pre/pro to projector