Wednesday, April 30, 2014

There Will Be Blood (2007)

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Writers:  Paul Thomas Anderson, Upton Sinclair
Cast:       Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano, Ciaran Hinds

A story of family, greed, religion, oil and madness, focusing on a turn-of-the-century prospector in the early days of the business.

This was my third time watch of Paul Thomas Anderson's masterpiece which was a big change for him in terms of themes and style handled when compared to previous films in his filmography. This time around I enjoyed it the most maybe because I identified with the main character Daniel Plainview more and more. He is greedy, pragmatic, want to be liked by those who are close to him and doesn't suffer fools lightly. The following conversation with the guy who turns up as his brother kind of sums up the character:

Plainview: Are you an angry man, Henry?
Henry Brands: About what?
Plainview: Are you envious? Do you get envious?
Henry Brands: I don't think so. No.
Plainview: I have a competition in me. I want no one else to succeed. I hate most people.
Henry Brands: That part of me is gone... working and not succeeding- all my failures has left me... I just don't... care.
Plainview: Well, if it's in me, it's in you. There are times when I look at people and I see nothing worth liking. I want to earn enough money that I can get away from everyone.
Henry Brands: What will you do about your boy?
Plainview: I don't know. Maybe it will change. Does your sound come back to you? I don't know. Maybe no one knows that. A doctor might not know that.
Henry Brands: Where is his mother?
Plainview: I don't want to talk about those things. I see the worst in people. I don't need to look past seeing them to get all I need. I've built my hatreds up over the years, little by little, Henry... to have you here gives me a second breath. I can't keep doing this on my own with these... people.

His relationship with Eli Sunday (Paul Dano) starts off with the wrong note as he brings up the subject of his church when Daniel is trying to buy their land. There is not much difference between the characters except for the hypocrisy which is common among religious folks. What Daniel does in the film for most part is not really that bad and he is just a pragmatic businessman. He does a lot of good for the community but we see a sort of envy when he doesn't get the recognition for it as he sees people flocking to Eli Sunday's church. He cares a lot for his 'son' and is heartbroken when he decides to part his ways with his father and reacts in a bitter manner. In the last scene he is infuriated when Eli has the audacity to ask him for help and describes them as friends from long back which I think suggests that he also identifies himself with Daniel's character. The legendary tirade that follows leads the film to the inevitable conclusion that is suggested by the title: 'There Will Be Blood':

Plainview: You're not the chosen brother, Eli. It was Paul who was chosen. You see, he found me and told me about your land. You're just a fool.
Eli Sunday: Why are you talking about Paul? Don't say this to me.
Plainview: I did what your brother couldn't. I broke you and I beat you. It was Paul who told me about you. He's the prophet. He's the smart one. He knew what was there and he found me to take it out of the ground, and you know what the funny thing is? Listen... listen... listen... I paid him ten thousand dollars, cash in hand, just like that. He has his own company now. A prosperous little business. Three wells producing. Five thousand dollars a week.
[Eli cries]
Plainview: Stop crying, you sniveling ass! Stop your nonsense. You're just the afterbirth, Eli.
Eli Sunday: No...
Plainview: You slithered out of your mother's filth.
Plainview: They should have put you in a glass jar on a mantlepiece. Where were you when Paul was suckling at your mother's teat? Where were you? Who was nursing you, poor Eli- one of Bandy's sows? That land has been had. Nothing you can do about it. It's gone. It's had. You lose.
Eli Sunday: If you would just take this lease, Daniel...
Plainview: Drainage! Drainage, Eli, you boy. Drained dry. I'm so sorry. Here, if you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and I have a straw. There it is, that's a straw, you see? You watching?. And my straw reaches acroooooooss the room, and starts to drink your milkshake... I... drink... your... milkshake!
[sucking sound]
Plainview: I drink it up!
Eli Sunday: Don't bully me, Daniel!
[Daniel roars and throws Eli across the room]
Plainview: Did you think your song and dance and your superstition would help you, Eli? I am the Third Revelation! I am who the Lord has chosen!

Rating: 5/5