Written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. 2007.
"I have a competition in me," Daniel Plainview says. "I want no one else to succeed." Plainview isn't driven by greed so much as contempt. He sees the worst in people, hates everyone. His soul is the black liquid he hauls up and deposits in the dirt, sometimes shooting skyward, his crooked, wobbly frame the flaming derrick burning long into the night and morning, infinite reserves. There Will Be Blood is a great movie that leaps time a little too quickly in its third act, but it ends at the perfect moment. Plainview's monologue begins the movie with the address, "Ladies and gentlemen...." He ends the movie with, "I'm finished." Appropriate, as it's a movie showcasing not only a single actor -- a titan, a colossus in American movies -- but also a single character. I'll always prefer the internalization of Barry Egan's violence, but this is, next to that, Paul Thomas Anderson's finest movie.