Again, the devil does not give me peace, so I accept the thankless task of writing about a film about which everything has probably already been written and which every film lover who has ever held to himself has looked at least twice. If I didn’t go too far, I would place Andeson’s “There Will Be Blood” without thinking on the list of the top five 21st century films, and the role of oilman Daniel Plainview played by the amazing Daniel Day-Lewis is perhaps the best role I’ve ever watched. I’ve already written extensively in some previous blogs about Anderson as well, especially about Day-Lewis, but this role and this film are absolutely perfect. It is a story about obsession, sick ambition, greed, but also naivety and fatalism, and a complete plunge into madness.
Anderson devised the script based on the novel “Oil!” Upton Sinclair from 1927, and in “There Will Be Blood” we follow the life story of a man who was among the first to discover the full potential of oil and turn the search and exploitation of “black gold” into a huge business. But he will go a long way in this epic drama whose plot spans thirty years, from 1898 until the late 1920s. At the very beginning, the oil fever starts and Daniel starts as one of many. Deep in the shaft, up to his throat in the mud, with a shovel and a pickaxe in his hands, he searches for oil deposits. His story ends with the extraction of barrels and barrels of oil and he will become an oil mogul, but during that journey he will simultaneously gain incredible wealth, but lose everything and drive everything away and turn into a real monster. In a complete maniac, a terrifying misanthrope who sees in people only the worst, a man full of rage who hates everything around him, and most of all himself.
One could say that Daniel is the personification or prototype of the modern American capitalist. A man who does not stop until he literally destroys not only the competition and rivals, but the man who finds pleasure in trampling and destroying people. From the beginning, it is clear to us that Daniel is a man of great ambitions, obsessive and with a sick desire to succeed, and a classic example of the saying that the end justifies the means. He does not choose the means to succeed and to achieve his goals, and as he will experience misfortunes, disappointments, betrayals in life, he will become a worse and darker type who is only interested in being rich and proving himself. From the beginning, he is alone and loneliness is his natural state, so he will get rid of his adopted son without much thought after he has an accident, and it will be even easier to embrace a man who introduced himself as a half-brother he didn’t even know existed.
After years and years of digging and rolling in the mud, Daniel will have his great chance when a young man named Paul (Paul Dano) appears and reveals to him that there are huge sources of oil on his family’s land. It turns out that this information is correct and thanks to it Daniel will find the largest site in America, but instead of Paul, he will find his twin brother Elijah there. In fact, it remains unclear until the end whether the twins exist at all or whether Paul and Eli are one and the same person since we never see them together. Eli is an evangelical pastor whose goal is to get as much money out of Daniel as possible for his church. He presents himself as a charismatic with miraculous powers and it is clear to Daniel that he is a cheater who has found his own way to exploit illiterate and primitive people, and a rivalry will be created between them that will explode in Eli’s humiliation of Daniel.
Of course, he will not forget that and will wait for years for revenge, and the two of them can be seen as symbols of old, backward, pre-industrial America and a symbol of modern, insatiable, industrialized America whose motivation is actually the same. Getting rich and achieving your own goals no matter how much they cost. These are two aspects of exploitation and exploitation of everything in their path, so Daniel did not adopt his colleague’s son out of parental instincts and feelings to help the unfortunate boy, but because he realized that it will be much easier to sell his story to people if he has innocent childish face. He uses the standard lies we can hear today about prosperity and well-being for the communities that will come to his entrepreneurial endeavors, but he is a man who is not interested in anyone’s well-being and who sees only himself.
“There Will Be Blood” is one of the few films where it is impossible to find a flaw. From great, well-thought-out, clever and even enigmatic script, inspired directing, impressive acting achievements, masterful photography of his then permanent DP Robert Elswith (who along with Day-Lewis was the only one to confirm an Oscar nomination out of eight) and excellent music by Johnny Greenwood of Radiohead. Everything is perfect from start to finish and although it is more of a symbolic art character study than a classic genre film and lasts a good two and a half hours, there is not a second of idleness, some excess or lack and everything is completely in place.
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