There Will Be Blood (2007)

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A story of family, religion, hatred, oil and madness, focusing on a turn-of-the-century prospector in the early days of the business. (IMDb)
Patient and poignant cinematography and a persistently discomforting Kubrick-esque score fittingly portray drawn-out scenes in a dreary landscape amidst a long-scale soul-crushing story about the corruption of capitalism. Daniel’s narrative is compelling, but the parallelism in his feud with fellow false prophet Eli (Day-Lewis and Dano are both wonderful) is so brilliantly crafted (see the echo of the former’s baptism in the devastating final scene) the latter could have used more screen time.
8.5/10 (Amazing)
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Gangs of New York (2002)

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In 1863, Amsterdam Vallon returns to the Five Points area of New York City seeking revenge against Bill the Butcher, his father’s killer. (IMDb)

With a meandering first two acts and Amsterdam’s too-simple switch, the plot here isn’t always on point, but its wholly immersive setting provides more than enough substance to engage, with each masterfully decorated and artfully directed scene bringing you deeper into the violent, lawless chaos of 1860s New York. The fantastic Day-Lewis (the terrifying presence that is The Butcher) lures you even further in to this edge-of-your-seat experience that’s a little rambling, but always riveting.

8.3/10

The Age of Innocence (1993)

A tale of nineteenth-century New York high society in which a young lawyer falls in love with a woman separated from her husband, while he is engaged to the woman’s cousin. (IMDb)

A beautifully composed film, with its exquisitely detailed sets and costumes, that, along with a swirling orchestral score, gracefully sweep you up into 1870s New York. Striking visual edits complete this cinematic package that brings life to what is a very introspective story heavy on narration and light on outward conflict. It’s a unique combination that sits nicely in the end but feels a tad too mild and insubstantial at times throughout, despite strong performances from the three leads.

7.4/10