On this week’s edition of ‘The Best Acting I’ve Ever Seen‘ – let’s talk about Paul Thomas Anderson’s THERE WILL BE BLOOD, starring Paul Dano and Daniel Day Lewis.
The Actors: Daniel Day Lewis & Paul Dano
The Film: There Will Be blood (2007)
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
The Scene: Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day Lewis) confronts Eli (Paul Dano), a rival from his past who has come crawling back to him in order to beg for the oil titan to drill on his land after years of rejecting his business proposals. The results are chaotic…
My thoughts: Daniel Day Lewis is the greatest living actor of our generation and it’s a damn shame he’s decided to retire after Phantom Thread. Ever since I had seen him in Gangs of New York (a film which I consider to be his greatest role sans this one scene in question), Lewis has blown me away with his raw intensity and ability to hypnotize audiences and have them hanging onto every word he utters onscreen. This is the infamous Milkshake sequence, a silly throwaway line that if said by any other actor, could come across as hokey and bizarre, but with Lewis’ iconic delivery here – suddenly something so unusual will go down in history as one of the greatest movie scenes of all time. Paul Thomas Anderson may never direct another scene in his career this iconic and that’s OK, because “I drink your milkshake” will stand the test of time and probably confuse my grandkids’ grandkids’ when they eventually watch this film because it’s now mandatory viewing in highschools in the same vein as classics like To Kill a Mockingbird.
Paul Dano is an underrated genius and his plea to a senile madman comes across as equal parts despicable and sad. Eli is super religious and has based every decision in his life because of his faith and over the course of this film, he constantly clashes with Lewis over the land his family owns which just so happens to be loaded with tasty oil. By the time Eli and Daniel have their showdown in that bowling alley, their feud has come to a boiling point in such a dramatic and horrible fashion that it just needs to be seen to be believed. Both of these performers are delivering their greatest scene work of all time right here. Also… if you want to see a masterclass in physical acting, watch how Dano slithers across the floor as he tries to evade a psychotic Daniel. It’s brilliant. This entire sequence which concludes There Will Be Blood is perfection.