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There will be Blood

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Jessie Pimentel | 6 comments One of the BEST MOVIES ever. very good, creative. people should see it.

message 2: by melbourne (new)

melbourne (cocho) | 80 comments I agree, in part. It is worth watching. I was greatly impressed by PT Anderson's directing, as well as with the cast. It seemed more subtle, in ways, than some of Anderson's other films. It was gripping nonetheless.

message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

I found it plotless, dull, and badly written. DDL was wonderful, but he always is. I like Paul Dano and he was good....but the movie was vastly overrated and really not nearly as good as what else is up for the Awards...and not up to Anderson's history.

message 4: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 362 comments I just saw this movie and thought it was fantastic. The acting was excellent. It was great to see some unknowns that you are sure will be seen again.

message 5: by Pat (new)

Pat | 24 comments Worthy watching for it's Oscar nominations. Day-Lewis is on par with his usual excellence. And he seems to revel in the darkness in his characters (typical for most actors I suppose). The "milkshake" scene was memorable and according to Entertainment Weekly, is already spawning a new catch phrase. But you have to give a nod to Dano's tightly controlled performance as Eli Sunday: so tightly wrapped you can almost see him vibrate on screen; ready to snap. I'll not likely add this to my home library of films upon it's DVD release; which is the hallmark of the way I feel about a movie.

message 6: by Andrea (new)

Andrea | 1 comments My mother, brother and I just saw it today and we spent half an hour arguing about it. My brother HATED the ending. I explained to him my interpretation of the film. Daniel Plainview represents corporate greed and individuals that have no moral compass and acheive wealth at the expense of others and at the expense of their own conscience and Eli Sunday represents individuals that use religion or contrived faith to feel superior to others or to feel that they have a purpose and that there was no real hero, as is the case in life...lots of shades of gray. My brother said, "But Plainview wins in the end!" I insisted, "No! He was a bitter, miserable old man eaten up with self-hatred. Yes, he had all this money, but it was useless! There's a reason the ending takes place in a bowling alley. A place that is typically associated with family, friends, and fun was the setting for the climax between these two lost men, each seeking vindication through money." Anyway, I put it right up there with No Country for Old Men. There's a reason these films feel so timely and speak to so many people.

message 7: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Tellez-Carson | 2 comments This movie was one of the best of the year. PT Anderson is rad. It was not my favorite (No Country gets that "award"), but I am definitely enjoying the absence of the glitz and glam from the Oscars this year. This film is getting the praise and recognition it deserves. Woo-hoo!

message 8: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie I just got around to seeing this (and I just joined the group, so I'm starting with my most recent movie). I was disappointed after all the hype. I didn't think it was Oscar-worthy and I thought DDL's performance was over the top. Parts of the storyline just seemed to peel away and never be resolved. It was choppy, and not in a good way.

I loved the cinematography and soundtrack, though.

message 9: by Sherry (new)

Sherry I had some mixed feelings about this movie.I thought it was very well done.I would agree with
Andrea that each of the main characters seemed to represent business and religion.Neither seemed to possess any kind of conscience and were free to manipulate people and circumstances to serve their own agendas without thought to those affected.Both were greedy for money and power.Very real issues we deal with today.That being said it didn't really go anywhere for me.I kept waiting and expecting something to resemble a plot that never really happened.Essentially it was leading to showing us that for all their drive and ambition they both had failed lives.I couldn't help but be a tad disappointed in it.Maybe I missed something

message 10: by Tera Marie (new)

Tera Marie This movie was a true work of art. Putting Daniel Day Lewis' superb acting aside, it's unique spin on telling the story of the oil boom and its hard life while interweaving characters of questionable morals lent to the perpetual unease that overshadows the movie. It was a terrific story of the lure of both power and greed and how, regardless of your station in society, dependence on these can lead to a life of tragedy and disappointment. Very well scripted and directed.

message 11: by Lostinanovel (new)

Lostinanovel DDL was so incredible that he really did steal the show. The competiting moral stories of him versus the preacher were distorted by how badly the preacher character was acted (or at least compared to DDL). Watch it just watch DDL, he is rivoting.

message 12: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 851 comments THERE WILL BE BLOOD (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007, USA) This is an intense and nihilistic character study in the same vein (pun intended) as Kubrick’s masterpiece THE SHINNING, only without the metaphysics. PT Anderson’s film focuses on the madness of Daniel Plainview; though we see the story from his perspective we are never allowed intimate or empathetic contact with him. We are kept at a distance and experience his story from a cold emotional vantage point…which is a Kubrickian narrative convention. But the parallels to the late great Stanley Kubrick continue. The film begins in darkness and isolation and as the camera pans upwards to the bleak mountains we hear a piercing whine; this evokes a feeling of dread and horror much like the Overlook...I thought for a moment that Wendy Carlos scored the film! When Anderson shoots in a close-up of Plainview it actually takes us farther away from the character; we feel like we’re next to a rabid animal ready to lash out at any moment. There are a few excellent tracking shots and scenes with long focal lengths keeping the participants as tiny figures amid the scenery….again, keeping the viewer emotionally detached from the drama. This is not a film that carries a heavy plot; sure there is conflict between characters but there is no driving plot device…only the madness of Daniel Plainview. Daniel Day-Lewis’ performance channels the energy and insanity of Nicholson’s Jack Torrance; from the opening scene which showcases his isolation and obsessive nature to the brutal maddening climax. The final scene reminds me of the murder scene which bookends LOLITA; it’s funny and almost slapstick until the murder…then the seriousness of the event begins to sink in. Not only one of the best of 2007 but maybe one of the greatest American films in the last twenty years…only time will tell. It’s over. (A+)

message 13: by Sherry (new)

Sherry Very interesting review Alex.What was your perception in relation to his relationship with the boy?He seemed to really care for the boy and he seemed to deteriorate when the boy lost his ability to connect.What are your thoughts on that?I'd be very interested to know.

message 14: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 851 comments I don't believe Plainview made a connection with anybody; I think the child was just a tool he used to manipulate others for personal gain. When the boy was no longer useful he sent him away. Plainview was concerned with power over other people...especially his son, near the end of the film.

message 15: by Sherry (new)

Sherry *Spoiler*
Yes that's true,but he did seem to connect with the boy until the boy went deaf.Remember the scene on the train when the baby reached out and touched him?His look of affection?Also when the boy lay screaming on the bed and he held him in genuine anguish.No I think he did connect and that boy was his only vehicle for connection so that when he lost it, his character lost what little grip on decency and humaness he had.He didn't send the boy away until he realized he couldn't be reached in his current state.He became as isolated and remote as the boy was in his deafness,detached from the impact his actions had on others.And yes he did seem to use the boy but there was a sense of comradery between them in the enterprise of empire building.

message 16: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 851 comments This is what's great about cinema; we each see the same thing yet offer different perspectives filtered through our own experiences. Films should make us think and once we see them, become a part of us. I love your insight into his character and will be thinking about it when I watch it again. Thanks :)

message 17: by Sherry (new)

Sherry I felt the same about your post Alex and appreciated the opportunity to exchange ideas about it.I thought what you said was very insightful and I'll be looking forward to reading more from you.

message 18: by Tom (new)

Tom | 5237 comments I agree with Sherry about Plainview's relationship to H.W. One of the most agonizing things in the film, for me, is that long long shot of Plainview abandoning the boy on the train, that horrible hunched over posture and the look on his face make it clear, to me at least, that he knows what a terrible thing he's doing. And there seems to be nothing feigned in his embrace of the boy later in the film, his whispered, "that does me good" is one of the most moving things in the film.

A remarkable movie, on the whole. It has taken me several viewings to really get a handle on my feelings about it. I was blown away on a first viewing, but found myself distrusting it because of my extreme dislike of the other films by P. T. Anderson that I'd seen. I found the film to be harrowing picture of a man who has no loves lusts or appetites apart from the ruthless acquisition of oil properties, but who finds himself frantically trying to paper up certain emotional cracks when things don't quite go his way. There's a lot more to this performance than an extended John Huston impression.

All in all, the film is a hugely ambitious, wildly exhilarating film that at first glance feels like a major statement about Greed and the costs thereof, sort of TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE without the bandits, and with Charles Foster Kane instead of Fred C. Dobbs.

But what exactly is it a major statement about? It doesn't necessarily have to be a Major Statement, I guess; it is certainly enough for it to be a beautifully executed portrait of a man so incredibly driven that he manages to destroy pretty much everything in his life, a la RAGING BULL. But there's none of the redemption that Scorsese manages to suggest in his film. BLOOD ends with a now-notorious sequence that feels somehow inevitable and tacked-on at the same time.

message 19: by Sherry (new)

Sherry *Spoilers*
Very well said Tom.I thought that there was more to the end then it feeling tacked on.At first it seemed so illogical to me but recalling the scene where he beat the young man for not healing his son the ending is as you say inevitable.Plainviews life,despite all his business and financial sucesses is a failure,disconnected and isolated.All of his rage is poured into this young man who proves himself again to be a charlatan.Would it have happened if his son had not made the final and inevitable break?

message 20: by George (new)

George | 951 comments *Spoilers*
I tend to agree as well. I think for Plainview, the world is very much us and them, and you are either one or the other. It's hard to imagine Plainview feeling the emotions he showed toward the boy earlier in the film if it wasn't his own son. He allowed very few people to come close to him, really only the son and the supposed brother, and of course he killed him once he discovered the truth. That was the price exacted for swindling Plainview who allowed himself to open up however slightly and become vulnerable. So no one would learn he could be made vulnerable.

But he didn't kill his son for what was in many respects a greater betrayal, attempting to compete with Plainview. Since he couldn't bring himself to kill the son, he chose to hurt him as harshly as he possibly could emotionally by denying any such relationship ever existed. Not that you are no longer my son, but that you never were, so I have no reason to care, and I never really did. It's certainly probable that the break with his son destroyed any final vestiges of humanity in him. However, he was quite capable of murder prior to that, so he might have killed the evangelist for his prior public humiliation anyway given an opportunity. He just would have done it more intelligently and protected himself better.

message 21: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 851 comments Well said! I love discussing films because the character's motives are not spelled out for us like they are (literally!) in a novel. We have to glean the information through our senses and this leaves a film open to much interpretation. Which is what makes moving pictures such a great art form!
But I still consider Plainview (maybe the name's a clue?) to be a psychopath and every action calculated to bring him some gratification: showing any emotion towards his son is in plain view-an superficial act that the son believes is Love but is solely manipulative towards the boy and the community. It was imperative that his son truly believes that Plainview loved him or else the charade would soon fall apart. As the film progressed, I would ask myself "What does Plainview benefit from this act?" The Wiki entry calls it Aggressive Narcissism. We could substitute Roy Batty from Blade Runner without the final act of kindness, the final link to humanity. He lacks empathy and caring for other people which is obvious throughout the story. He doesn't kill his "brother" right away because he's trying to figure out the con, not because he has any true feeling towards him. He doesn't kill his son because he can destroy him in other ways and remain in control. He kills the evangelist because of the past embarrassment when his self-control was forfeit. It's even his choice to end the narrative. It's over. I don't believe Plainview ever had a grain of humanity.

message 22: by George (last edited Jun 23, 2008 06:42PM) (new)

George | 951 comments Your points are certainly more than plausible, but I'm not sure that I'm willing to go so far as that, perhaps I'm more the romantic of the two of us. For example, yes, he's on the watch for the con from the beginning. But I don't think that doesn't mean he wouldn't be willing to accept his brother on some level,if he can just be convinced this is somehow real, especially if it doesn't cost him very much. He finds it all but impossible to accept it as real, and finding out that it isn't reinforces his view of the real world, but I don't think that means he doesn't still hope that somehow perhaps it is, against all odds and reason. If he had no shred of humanity, if he's only a psychopath, why wouldn't he just take the fellow out into the woods and roast him over a slow fire, until he hears what he expects to hear, what he wants to hear? He certainly seems quite capable of that sort of action.

If the relationship with the son is a fraud, what is his motivation for keeping him alive? He doesn't reward his son's betrayal, true,but he doesn't maintain control either by allowing him his independence by disowning him and throwing him out. He loses any possibility of control at that point. He tells the son it doesn't matter because he's not his son, Plainview is not only not his father, and doesn't care if he leaves, but in reality, he has never cared, and never had any reason to care. But if that's true, why the anger and anguish? Why not simply derisive laughter?

Yes he's a psychopath, but a ruthless, cunning intelligent one, up to the last scene anyway. He hasn't simply lost all sense of humanity there, he's lost all sense of self-preservation, he's no longer capable of rational thought and action. At the end, he is completely lost, even to himself.

message 23: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 851 comments All great points! I can't wait to watch the film again.
He's always looking for an angle in a situation, some way to benefit either now or in the future, so he wouldn't just kill his brother until he found him useless...and excess weight. There definately could be a shred of humanity in Plainview but he's like any manipulator/abuser: you know he's lying because his lips are moving. I just don't trust anything he says or does in the film to be altruistic.
Love the discussion!! Thank you!!

message 24: by George (new)

George | 951 comments I enjoyed it as well. Too bad there aren't more films of this caliber to debate.

message 25: by Meg (last edited Jun 25, 2008 04:47AM) (new)

Meg (megvt) | 362 comments **SPOILER**
I look at his relationship with his son a tad differently. I think in the beginning the relationship was one where he wanted to make him a duplicate copy of himself and that was why he kept him around. He was grooming him to take over when he could no longer control the oil business. As soon as the son became deaf he had no use for him and therefore sent him away. I think that the scene depicted his only vulnerability, he was gravely shaken and could no longer deal with it. Once he was gone he willed himself not to think of him again. His son fooled him by becoming, perhaps, a stronger person than he was. In his angst he had to destroy the preacher for taking his one hope (his son) away from him.
Now I have to read Upton Sinclair's book "Oil" which this movie is supposedly based on. Has anyone else read it?

message 26: by George (new)

George | 951 comments No, I've never read the book. If you read it and find more info related to this or other points, by all means let us know. Maybe I'll take a look as well, at some point, anyway.

message 27: by Steve (new)

Steve | 957 comments Meg -- the movie is based not on "the Jungle," but on Sinclair's story "Oil!".

message 28: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 362 comments Thanx I would have read the wrong book!

message 29: by George (new)

George | 951 comments Oh, I imagine you would have figured that out before actually finishing it. :)

message 30: by Tom (last edited Feb 25, 2009 03:24AM) (new)

Tom | 5237 comments A couple of points---

H.W. goes deaf, not blind.

The film is very very loosely based on Lewis' OIL! About all it takes from the novel is the idea of an oil man and his son, and assorted character names. In the novel, the Plainview character really is the H.W. character's father, for example. The novel is told from the H.W. character's point of view, but not in first person.

I don't think it is so terrible of Plainview to have sent H.W. away. The boy is becoming unmanageable: he does try to burn down the shack that could very well have proven fatal to those sleeping inside it, after all. The problem is that H.W.'s education seems to have been so terribly neglected: it never occurs to Plainview to simply communicate with the boy by writing, clearly because the boy is illiterate.

That said, I still think there is a good deal of real affection between Plainview and H.W. Yes, Plainview uses the kid to put a nice face on his business dealings, there's no doubt about that, but I don't think that his motives are entirely mercenary. And I think it is the loss of H.W. that really precipitates Plainview's decline into madness. He doesn't start treating his staff abusively ("Don't be thick around me, Al!") or threatening people with throat-cuttings, etc. until after the terrible abandonment of H.W. on the train.

message 31: by Sherry (new)

Sherry Tom, didn't he send the boy before the fire episode?
I think he sent the boy when it became apparent he would not recover his hearing,but excellent point about the boy's illiteracy.

I agree that Plainviews actions are not strictly self serving and that the loss of the connection with H.W. is the beginning of his decline.

I believe that he would have liked his supposed brother to have really been his family and there was a vulnerability evident in him in that need for connection all the more apparent by how Plainview responds to the man when he catches him in the lie.I don't think he killed just because he was lied to but because of the rage he experienced when he realized there was no family or connection for him.I think it was for that loss more than for the lie.

I don't think he was a psychopath.I think he was an intensely lonely isolated man.That first few minutes of the film is like a view of the inner life of Plainview.The boy changed that for him,made his life richer,fuller and he was unable to cope with the loss.

message 32: by Tom (new)

Tom | 5237 comments Sherry, no, Plainview sends H.W. away after the fire episode.

message 33: by Sherry (new)

Sherry Hmmm,I guess I'll just have to watch it again and get my facts straight. :)

message 34: by George (last edited Jul 08, 2008 08:25PM) (new)

George | 951 comments There are any number of traits that are common enough to humans that fail to evidence any trace of humanity, any empathy for or connectivity to the rest of the human race. Plainview is certainly the protagonist of this film, but hero? There are moments here and there where he shows some empathy for one or two others, but they are certainly few and far between, and well before the end, he's become increasingly divorced from the rest of mankind. So, what then has he accomplished by the end of the film while scraping his empire out of the dust? What will he leave behind except an empire that will crumble back into dust? What meaning was there behind all his efforts? What joy, what satisfaction, in his accomplishment does he show? He is damned beyond all hope of redemption at the end, no longer even able to show any interest in his own survival.

message 35: by Sherry (new)

Sherry If Plainview was so satisfied with his achievements why is he sitting in his little bowling alley in a drunken stupor?How can his success be measured by beating a pathetic excuse for a preacher who comes with hat in hand,obviously unsuccessful himself?I think George articulated it very well when he makes the distinction between traits common to humans and humanity.

I would agree that Plainviews story is not one of success and heroism but of failure to acquire the thing most important to him,connection with another human being.

message 36: by Jackie (new)

Jackie | 50 comments What did HW see in the pseudo-uncle's journal that caused him to want to burn down the house? Was it the picture of a woman that triggered questions about his own lost mother or was it the guns? Did HW feel jealous of another man monopolizing his father's time and possibly displacing him, as he knew his hold on his father was tenuous at best? Or was he completely frustrated at losing his hearing that he was going mad--having seizures, etc.? Maybe all of the above?

message 37: by Tom (new)

Tom | 5237 comments The journal didn't really have much to do with it, I don't think. HW's attempted arson seems more born of frustration and rage at his sudden deafness and the sudden appearance of a total stranger who is taking his place in Daniel's life.

The journal really only seemed to confirm one thing, to me at least. The fact that HW is holding it upside down seemed to confirm that HW is illiterate. Of course the fact that it never seems to occur to anyone to simply communicate with him via notes would also suggest that, too.

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