There Will Be Blood is a thrillingly dark film that explores the obsessed ambition of success that drives Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) a crazed irascible and paranoid oil pioneer. There Will Be Blood is not just a journey of money, greed and ambition of success but it also shows the slipping sanity of a man driven mad by triumph. With Lewis’s character there’s always a psychotic atmosphere that fills the air. Though he is seen to be at the norm his drive for success shows no bound. We see this ambition of success become more and more murderous. As Plainview is out done by the small California town of Little Boston preacher Eli Sunday (Paul Dano) we see his mask of sanity slip away. Plainview and Sunday’s relationship is a fine example of how far Plainview would go to succeed. In order to seal the deal for Mr, Bandy’s farm, Plainview is blackmailed into joining the Church of the Third Revelation. Plainview is then humiliated by Eli as part of his initiation. In front of the towns people Eli is seen as a “prophet” and him slapping and making Plainview scream “I have abandoned my child!” again and again is seen as if he’s slapping the devil out of him when really Eli is just getting his own back. I find this scene one of the most powerful and significant moments of how far man is prepared to humiliate himself for his own gain.
|I have abandoned my child!, I have abandoned my boy!|
To really grasps who Daniel Plainview is you have to look into how sees everything and everyone around him. There’s an unceasing competition in Plainview that makes him a very cynical person. Seeing only the worst in people he wishes no one to succeed and his only true goal in life is to “earn enough money that I can get away from everyone.” We never truly see the real Plainview. He never lets his guard down and never shows his true face. Just like how the towns people see him we the audience see Plainview as an ambitious pioneer and a family man who uses his son H.W. Plainview (Dillon Freasier) as means of gaining peoples trust. When he is encountered by a man claiming to be his half-brother Henry (Kevin J. O’Connor) Plainview assumes that his brother is just like him. Realizing that Henry has no ambition and is nothing like him Plainview discovers that Henry is an imposter and is actually a friend of the real Henry who died long ago from tuberculosis. In a fit of rage Plainview kills the imposter. One can argue that Plainview killed the imposter out of spite, tricking him to believe that he was his half-brother. But I like to think that he killed Henry because his constant hate to all human beings and that he can never really trust anyone. Plainview finally had someone to lean on and maybe relate to “to have you here gives me a second breath. I can't keep doing this on my own with these... people.”
|I See the worst in people|