Film of the Year No. 8


8. There Will Be Blood

There Will Be Blood is probably the most acclaimed film of 2008, and it's not hard to see why. From a technical perspective, this is filmmaking at its very best. Everything from the cinematography to the soundtrack is absolutely top-notch, and Daniel Day-Lewis' Oscar-winning central performance is everything it's cracked up to be – intense, compelling and, occasionally terrifying.

Loosely based on the novel OIL! by Upton Sinclair, the story follows the rise of Daniel Plainview, a ruthless oil-prospector driven as much by his hatred for others as his seemingly boundless greed. The details of the plot are not so important as its themes: ultimately, There Will Be Blood is about the corruption of the human soul. From its stark opening to its extraordinary conclusion, this is a powerful piece of cinema.

Yet There Will Be Blood is a flawed masterpiece. For all its technical brilliance, the film too often feels artificial, even theatrical. Its characters are unreal, their motivations hard to fathom or accept. They are ciphers rather than people. That's why There Will Be Blood is merely a very good film, rather than a great one. See the trailer here.