PDA

View Full Version : There Will Be Blood


Argent Towers
04-09-2008, 10:04 PM
I know there's already a thread about this. Or was one, a long time ago. I'm not sure what the best thing here to do would be so I just figured I'd start a new one. I finally got around to watching this movie yesterday. I had "seen" it in the theater before, but fell asleep 15 minutes into it and woke up to the "I'm finished!" at the end.

Wanting context for that bizarre ending, I watched it in full last night. I think it was truly a masterpiece of a movie and deserved all of the praise it got. Some of my observations:

1. Johnny Greenwood's score is really fantastic. I know everyone has said it already but I just want to repeat it. The dissonant, out-of-tune strings add SO much tension and a sense of uneasiness to the whole movie. A really unique, revolutionary soundtrack like nothing else I've ever heard. If I had to compare it to something, it would be Howard Shore's score for Crash (the 1996 one.)

2. Daniel Plainview is one of the great characters of all time. He is truly dynamic and multidimensional. In the first half of the movie, he is a pretty likeable character. He's hardworking, seems to really be a caring father, and though he uses some weasely tactics to get people to sell their land to him, his promises of prosperity are believable and seem sincere. After his son loses his hearing, he grows more and more bitter, eventually withdrawing into his lavish mansion and hiding from the outside world, similar to Citizen Kane or Howard Hughes in The Aviator.

3. Another interesting thing about Plainview is that he seems to live for only one thing: success at the expense of everyone and everything that might stand in his way. A strange side effect of this is that he comes across as almost non-sexual. Eli accuses him of "lusting after women" at the end of the movie but there's actually no evidence that he ever did that. He's never shown having anything to do with women during the entire movie. He came to have a son through adoption and not through a wife. For all we know, he's never even been laid. He just doesn't seem to have any interest in sex.

4. Is the name "Plainview" symbolic? As in, he has a plain view of life, caring only about making money above everything else?

Any other thoughts about this movie?

Dignan
04-09-2008, 11:21 PM
Spoilers ahead ...



It's been a while since I've seen it, but I intend to see it again. From what I remember, the depth of Daniel Plainview was probably my favorite part of the movie. I don't know if it was H.W.'s hearing loss that got to Daniel so much, as it was the sense of betrayal at different times. His "brother from a different mother" that wasn't, the other oil man telling Daniel how to run his family, and H.W. going off to run his own company. Daniel opens up to his "brother", and explains exactly what he wants, which is to make enough money so he can get away from everyone, because he doesn't care for people.

It would seem he's always been kind of a loner, as the beginning of him is mining for silver by himself. He's always been driven too, shown by dragging himself into town from where he had his fall in the mine. Kind of an aside, I remember the movie opening and going for a while without any dialog. I got the sense that he does want someone he can consider a partner. I thought there was someone else with him at the beginning when Paul comes with information about oil on his family's land. Then he wants H.W. to be a partner, and was grooming him to take over at some point; he also thinks for a time that he has one in his brother. I remember him being the angriest when he felt he was betrayed (or might be betrayed), his brother, who wasn't; H.W. leaving; and threatening to hunt down Paul if he was lying about the oil.

His two major concerns seem to be money, and his family, though not always in that order. His obsession with both of those topics could be a result of his one major personality trait: competitiveness. When he really seems to open up to his brother, and explain his motivation he says he's competitive. Based on everything in the movie, I don't think there's any reason not to believe what he says in that scene.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.