Screenshot: There Will Be Blood

This video is not about There Will Be Blood—it is, rather, about using Paul Thomas Anderson’s 2007 masterpiece as a case study for the exercise of counting a movie’s cuts. In so doing, the latest Nerdwriter video elucidates a method of understanding a movie’s rhythms, and taking a more objective viewpoint of its various shots. Here we see that There Will Be Blood’s patient pace—only 678 cuts in the entire movie—gradually but steadily increases over the film’s runtime, and that Anderson and cinematographer Robert Elswitt were able to minimize cuts by framing multiple people and objects in the same shot. They’re images that gradually evolve as the scene demands it.

But mostly, the whole thing’s just an opportunity to watch Daniel Day Lewis tear into that “I see the worst in people” line, to see Paul Dano’s smug, docile face again, to revel in the way casual bit parts have wedged themselves into your mind even a decade after the movie first came out. Nerdwriter’s point is entirely separate from the quality of There Will Be Blood, but, really, there’s never a bad time to go back and obsess over its minutiae. That soundtrack!

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