24 January 2008

There Will Be Blood

I saw the movie There Will Be Blood last weekend.

The plot is straightforward, and kin to that of The Aviator or Citizen Kane. The protagonist in each of these three cases is an entrepreneur, and we see him overcoming various obstacles in order to build a thriving business and get himself a large mansion.

But in movies of this sort we're also supposed to get a sense of vast human costs intertwined with that success. We end up with Hearst/Kane dying alone in that mansion with the name of a childhood toy on his lips. Or, in The Aviator, with Howard Hughes so imprisoned by his various obsessions that he can't enjoy his victories in the marketplace. There is an analogous ending here, which I won't give away.

The point I have to give away, though, is that we feel the loneliness of the big mansion Daniel Plainview comes to own, a mansion that may have been inspired by one he saw as a kid back in Wisconsin, but one surely on a far grander scale, with enough room for its own bowling alley. We were allowed along the way to enjoy the sheer force of will, the human energy, that force that laid the pipeline to the sea, the pipeline that the Standard Oil honchos thought the protagonist would never be able to build. He built it, by gum. But we feel the hollowness at its end.

This movie makes abundant reference to the biblical resonance of brotherly struggle. Esau the ruddy hunter, and Jacob, his (barely) younger brother, the studious fellow who "dwelled in tents."

There are two distinct brotherly rivalries at the heart of this movie. On the one hand, there are two brothers (played by the same actor) in the Sunday family, which owns land that the Oilman needs for his derrick.

On the other hand, there are (or might be) two Plainview brothers in the movie, and their relationship is foreground just when that of the two Sundays is background.

In short, I loved this movie.


Henry said...

I saw the movie last weekend too, and found Daniel Day-Lewis' performance beyond extraordinary, though I would have preferred that his character had been explained a little more. Why, for instance, did he have no interest in women (or men)? The movie did not take note of this, yet Day-Lewis' character would have been attractive to women (or men), and, surely, even his Ahab-like monomania for oil would not have precluded a sexual relationship.

And I did not realize, until I read reviews after I saw the movie, that the Sunday brothers were not the same person. (Other people I have spoken with made the same error.) I see no reason why the director used the same actor for both brothers. In fact, I see no reason why the director made them two different people, as they never appear on screen together, and I don't think that the story would not have been different if they had been the same person.

Don't get me wrong, though -- I too recommend the movie highly.

Cicily Corbett said...


In an early version of the script, Paul Sunday is supposed to be 16 and his brother Eli, 18. Paul Dano was hired for the minor part of Paul, and Kel O'Neill for the much larger role of Eli Sunday. After three weeks of shooting scenes with O'Neill, and after Dano was done with his scene, the director fired O'Neill and asked Dano to play both roles. At that point, they were envisioned as being twins. (I don't really see the point, myself, nor was I personally really blown away by Dano. But if the director was so crazy to have him play Eli, and willing to re-shoot so many scenes, why not re-shoot Paul Sunday's little part with a new actor as well? You're not the only person who was majorly confused.)

The earlier script also has a scene with Daniel and a hooker (his head is between her legs), and another with him confessing to his "brother," Henry, that his cock doesn't work. So there's some insight into what Anderson the writer intended. If intention is worth anything.

Btw, you can read the "final script" (not the shooting script)here:


Henry said...


Paul Thomas Anderson was both the screenwriter and the director, so his intention was whatever the final product was. If his earlier intention had been to give Daniel a sex life, or to explain why he had none, then I don't know why he abandoned that intention. By the way, I recommend The New Republic's (online) review, which sees the movie as a flawed masterpiece, and provides a link that lists the flaws.

Anonymous said...


Related keywords:
order Tramadol cod overnight delivery
pain relief Tramadol
prescription Tramadol
place of Tramadol in practice
drug interaction between amiodarone and Tramadol
Tramadol use in canines
overnight Tramadol cod
next day air ups Tramadol Tramadol
[url=http://www.zazzle.com/AlexanderBlack]Tramadol and cod saturday delivery [/url]
Tramadol Tramadol
Tramadol tablet tab 50 mg
ranitidine Tramadol
Tramadol cod 180ct
purchase Tramadol
cod Tramadol for saturday
Tramadol ups cod delivery

Anonymous said...

clomid miscarriage | purchase clomid no prescription - clomid 200 mg, clomid multiples rates

Anonymous said...

clomid interactions | http://buyclomidonline.jimdo.com/#61112 - buy clomid no rx, taking clomid days 2 6

Anonymous said...

what time of day to take clomid | [url=http://buy-clomid-online.webs.com/#86140]clomid drug[/url] - generic clomid online, anhg when do i start clomid

Anonymous said...

buy clomid fertility pills | clomid 100mg - clomid prices, when do you start clomid

Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.