There Will Be Blood had somehow evaded my "must watch" list until fairly recently. Then one night, after beers and music discussion, my friend and I decided to wind down the evening with a movie. Something light was probably in order. Instead, we watched a deep, slow-moving, harrowing character study.
Sometimes dumb decisions just sort of work out.
Meet Daniel Plainview
The opening scene(s) of There Will Be Blood are dialog-free. I'm a sucker for that sort of thing.
...but my, once Daniel Plainview opens his mouth to speak, the viewer is in for a treat.
"Ladies and gentlemen... I've traveled over half our state to be here tonight. I couldn't get away sooner because my new well was coming in at Coyote Hills and I had to see about it. That well is now flowing at two thousand barrels and it's paying me an income of five thousand dollars a week. I have two others drilling and I have sixteen producing at Antelope. So, ladies and gentlemen... if I say I'm an oil man you will agree. You have a great chance here, but bear in mind, you can lose it all if you're not careful. Out of all men that beg for a chance to drill your lots, maybe one in twenty will be oilmen; the rest will be speculators-that's men trying to get between you and the oilmen-to get some of the money that ought by rights come to you. Even if you find one that has money, and means to drill, he'll maybe know nothing about drilling and he'll have to hire out the job on contract, and then you're depending on a contractor that's trying to rush the job through so he can get another contract just as quick as he can. This is... the way that this works."
It's possible that there is no better character introduction than that.
The wordless beginning is fantastic, too
Bizarrely, I can't find video of the beginning of the movie, only the second time he gives his "I'm an oil man" speech. So here's that, instead, I guess.