There will be blood

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Izawwlgood
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There will be blood

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Feb 05, 2008 4:39 pm UTC

Anyone read "Oil!"? I'm curious as to how they jive.

Spoiler:
Plainview's fallacy was not in his 'godless' or even his violent tendencies, they were in his inability to allow himself to be slighted. He was a vicious man, but who in the film wasn't? Plainview's sin is not his capitalism, for which he should be commended (he was a superb business man and kind employer), nor in his lack of faith, for the movie takes great pains to demonstrate that faith does not make for a good human being, nor even his cruelty, for his burden of loneliness ultimately becomes his burden to bear. No, Plainview's fallacy comes in his inability to find an equal, and subsequent inability to rest. His narcissism in seeking someone just as he is leads to his alienation.


I thought this movie was amazing. Slow and plodding, and a bit confusing at times, but beautiful. Plainview makes for a very convoluted and conflicted character.
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Re: There will be blood

Postby Malice » Wed Feb 06, 2008 1:04 am UTC

This movie was awesomesauce.

I also compared it, thematically (and in some cases stylistically), to 2001, but without the hopeful bit at the end. Tool use, psychosis, man dies in a room. The end! It's a downer, but an awesome downer.
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Re: There will be blood

Postby Draverd » Wed Feb 13, 2008 10:20 am UTC

I watched the movie and I did not like it. The reason I did not like it is because there are hidden representations of things within the film. For instance the part where H.W's real father rubs oil on his forehead when he is a baby. Now I am not going to get into this and start explaining in full detail about everything because I don't feel like it. Basically I just wanted to state that I don't like the movie because of that, and not get into a debate or anything.
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Re: There will be blood

Postby Jesse » Wed Feb 13, 2008 1:39 pm UTC

I'm not sure I understaqnd what you're driving at there. Maybe not a full explanation (Since you don't want to get into that) but could you clarify a little bit for me?

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Re: There will be blood

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Feb 13, 2008 2:59 pm UTC

@Drav, yeah I have no idea what your talking about. Please elaborate.

the 2001 theme was definitely there, especially with the musical score. The building discordant violins... woof.
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Re: There will be blood

Postby TheAmazingRando » Thu Feb 14, 2008 2:31 am UTC

To clarify, do you not like it because of the fact that it has symbolic elements, or because of what they represent?

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Re: There will be blood

Postby Draverd » Thu Feb 14, 2008 8:36 am UTC

I will state that I am Catholic and there where things that I noticed within the movie. I will state the main thing I noticed. At one point in the movie Plainview makes an ecstatic announcement which was a mocking distortion of Christ's own "last words." So yeah because of that and several other things that are similar is the reason why I don't like the film. I am not discussing this from this point onward. I am not going to tell all the different things I noticed within the film so don't ask.
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Re: There will be blood

Postby TheAmazingRando » Thu Feb 14, 2008 8:46 am UTC

Ok, so you didn't like it because you felt like it was mocking Christianity.

I haven't seen this movie, though I would like to. My friends who have seen it tell me that it's very good, but I missed an opportunity to see it earlier and I just haven't had the time (or money) to go out to the movies lately.

For some reason, by the trailers, it seems somewhat similar (not really plotwise, but as far as tone and atmosphere) to No Country for Old Men, which was probably my favorite movie of the year. Is that an accurate impression?

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Re: There will be blood

Postby Malice » Thu Feb 14, 2008 9:14 am UTC

TheAmazingRando wrote:For some reason, by the trailers, it seems somewhat similar (not really plotwise, but as far as tone and atmosphere) to No Country for Old Men, which was probably my favorite movie of the year. Is that an accurate impression?


Only in a vague sense. Both movies are in a way attacking the viewer--No Country's lack of score, and the way the plot goes towards the end.... They can make the experience a bit uncomfortable or unliked. There Will Be Blood, however, basically deliberately sets out to make you really, really uncomfortable, tense, dreading the inevitable violence, shocked again and again by Plainview's audacities and the emotional power of many of the scenes. You're tense in No Country, because you're afraid for certain characters, and because the score isn't there to tell you what to feel. You're tense in Blood because you're afraid of certain characters, and because the score won't bloody let up, and oh my God what the hell is going to happen next, and...

Not that it's a bad experience. It's nerve-wracking, but I loved it because of how strong it was, and how fascinating the movie was on so many different levels (the period details, the acting, the physical and emotional pain, etc.). Again, it's sort of a 2001 feeling, without the interludes of peaceful beauty. It's brilliant, and powerful, and you should probably go see it. Just because a movie is attacking its audience doesn't mean it isn't a great experience.
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Re: There will be blood

Postby TheAmazingRando » Thu Feb 14, 2008 9:24 am UTC

Sounds like the sort of film I would love. I'll have to find the time to see it.

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Re: There will be blood

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Feb 14, 2008 3:50 pm UTC

@Draverd: I find that incredibly curious that of all the religious messages in the movie, you pick up on Plainviews comment. Considering the films main antagonist is a depiction of religious zealotry, a potentially VERY unfair rendition of those with strong Christian beliefs... That said, I think, like just about any film that depicts potentially insulting material, you have to be able to separate the representation of the belief from the character portrayed. Just because Eli was over-the-top insanely fundamentalist Christian, does not mean Christianity is over-the-top insane. People are people, its important to remember that.

The tonality of the film felt similar to No Country in a few regards, specifically the slow, quiet pacing. The violence that does occur is BRUTAL, not stylized or taken lightly. You wince and feel pain with the characters. Both No Country and There will Blood evoked similar feelings of despising mankind for our violent tendencies, despite the movies having little to do with violence per say.

I guess theres a strong sense of finality about the events in the film, you aren't left feeling that if the characters misstep, there'll be a second chance.
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Re: There will be blood

Postby Rodan » Fri Feb 15, 2008 2:02 am UTC

It was by no means a pleasant movie, but I liked it a lot.

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Re: There will be blood

Postby BMP » Fri Feb 15, 2008 3:51 am UTC

This movie was insane. While many parts were boring and drawn out, the entire thing as a whole blew me away. The Ending was confusing but I eventually figured it out (with a little help). The whole movie was beautiful, and the acting was faaaantastic.

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Re: There will be blood

Postby maybeperhaps » Fri Feb 15, 2008 7:44 pm UTC

So excellent, but the ubiquitous "I drink your milkshake" explosion is a most unfortunate by-product. Cut it off at the pass?
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Re: There will be blood

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Feb 18, 2008 8:39 pm UTC

Cut off at the pass?
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Re: There will be blood

Postby HMC » Fri Feb 29, 2008 11:43 pm UTC

I loved this movie. I would totally have been pleased if it won Best Picture, as I'd say it was at least as good if not better than No Country. Daniel Day-Lewis is amazing, and the ending was the most amazing I've seen in years. See this movie if you haven't yet.

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Re: There will be blood

Postby Amarantha » Mon Mar 03, 2008 2:07 am UTC

I did see similarities in TWBB and NCFOM, but I liked the latter and not the former.

When NCFOM finished, someone in a nearby seat was like, "That's it?" But just before it finished, I'd thought "If I were making this, I'd end it here," and so I was glad when it did, because I felt like that meant I'd understood it at least partly. Which I often don't with symbolic, human-type stuff.

When TWBB ended, I was the one going "Wait, what?" I respect the art that went into the movie, but I just feel like I didn't get it. It didn't engage me while I was watching it, either, which NCFOM did. I didn't hate TWBB, I just didn't much like it.

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Re: There will be blood

Postby Loupis » Mon Mar 03, 2008 8:33 pm UTC

I think Izawwlgood made a great point about separating the over-the-top antics of Eli and Christianity as a whole... I think that is something that is often overlooked. You cannot deal with absolutes when it comes to discussing beliefs, especially when they're shown in a movie. Eli represents a certain type of Christian, the polar opposite of where Plainview is.
I really enjoyed TWBB. I've never been a Daniel Day-Lewis fan, but his performance blew me away.
I'll be watching NCFOM soon. I can't believe I never made it to the theater to see it.
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Re: There will be blood

Postby dash » Sat Mar 08, 2008 5:42 am UTC

maybeperhaps wrote:So excellent, but the ubiquitous "I drink your milkshake" explosion is a most unfortunate by-product. Cut it off at the pass?


I saw this movie about a week ago, and I was overwhelmed by the experience.

Spoiler warning

I saw an analysis online somewhere (result of google search). The final words in the movie are Plainview saying, "I'm finished!" The analysis claimed that Plainview was admitting he had just ruined his life -- his life was over, prison, disgrace, etc.

This person was completely wrong in his interpretation of the meaning of those words.

Plainview was expressing satisfaction at achieving all the goals he had wanted to in life. He had achieved wealth, power, independence. He had a goal of exposing Ely as the fraud that he was, and also to destroy him financially. It wasn't enough to kill Ely. He had to first completely expose him and "break" him. Then he can kill him. It's part of Plainview's sense of justice.

There is evidence for this in an earlier scene where Ely is leaving on the train on a trip, and lots of wellwishers are there to say goodbye. Plainview sees all the love showered on Ely, and he thinks how unjust this is, when he knows Ely is a fraud -- false prophet.

One thing young people don't realize is that it's possible to lose the will to continue living. There is a popular song with the words, "Life goes on, long after the thrill of living is gone." What does Plainview have to look forward to in his life? In the end he's reduced to a crazy rich hermit, ala Howard Hughes. He is consumed only by his hate. For him death would probably be a welcome release. Instead he hates Ely with a passion. It's why he always promised the $5,000 but never delivered. His purpose in life was to somehow destroy Ely, or see him exposed. When that's done he has no reason to go on living. It doesn't matter what happens next.

There is a story called "Bartleby The Scrivener" which reminds me of this concept. Bartleby wrote books in the old style, by copying an existing book. It's obviously boring, but it's a living. In the end he stopped working, just saying, "I would prefer not to." Eventually he ended up in some asylum, and his former employer put money into his hand to buy food with, and Bartleby didn't even close his hand -- the money fell out onto the ground. Bertleby had lost all the will to live.

I believe "There Will Be Bloood" is a story about what really happens when all your dreams come true -- when everything you've strived for is finally accomplished. The end result? There is no purpose left in life, so perhaps life itself is purposeless. We're treated to a view of Plainview's dreams, and we get exposure to his mind. I don't see him as a power grabbing monster, inhumane, insane...Rather I see him has absolutely human, and very individual. He knew exactly what he wanted to achieve, and went about doing it. By his own criteria, he was an absolute success -- and he knew it. His final "I'm finished!" is a cry of exultation, not of despair.

I loved the movie. The entire movie was a buildup to the last scene where he has it out with Ely. Remove that scene and you destroy the movie's perfection.

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Re: There will be blood

Postby LASD » Fri Mar 28, 2008 11:37 pm UTC

I just saw the movie with few friends of mine. I knew nothing about the film beforehand, except that it was critically acclaimed. So I was expecting a fairly good movie.

I have to admit that the acting, music, camerawork and almost all other cinematographic elements were superb, but the result was somehow empty, dull and lacking a point.

If the point was to make the viewer feel unpleasant, it failed to do that when compared to Stanley Kubrick or David Lynch. And aspects from these two directors (especially Kubrick) were easy to detect from the movie.

If the point was to shock the viewer or criticize religion and oil industry, it seemed like they were scared to do that properly. I got the idea that they wanted the broadest audience they could have by being only the tiniest bit offensive. I have to say that they succeeded very well. I hate it when artists don't have the guts to make something truly different.

The Oscar for the leading role went to the right man, but having the best actor of the year doesn't necessarily mean that the movie is great.

There Will Be Blood is a movie that could have been shocking or groundbreaking if it had been made decades ago. Now for me it was just a feeble attempt to provoke thoughts in the middle of postmodern era, when nothing is sacred and everything can be torn apart. I was half hoping that something unexpected would happen.

If I'll just go to watch Tarantino or something like that...

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Re: There will be blood

Postby Jarne » Sun Mar 30, 2008 3:18 pm UTC

Lacking a point? I thought the point was pretty clear that it was about Daniel Plainview's obsessive quest for material success, respect, and the destruction of all the people he despised.
And I don't see how the movie was dull at all. The movie was filled with tension and many of the shots in the movie were freakin' beautiful (in a scary and frightening way).

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Re: There will be blood

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Mar 31, 2008 10:28 pm UTC

Jarne, you didn't list a point, but themes.
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Re: There will be blood

Postby Jarne » Tue Apr 01, 2008 12:09 am UTC

I'm confused about the distinction between the two, then. Could you explain?
EDIT: Do you mean a point as in "what the movie's positions on those themes were"?

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Re: There will be blood

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Apr 01, 2008 4:20 am UTC

Well the movie deals with a man who strives to succeed, but does not make a point whether or not that is a 'good' thing. The movie deals with a man who burns all his bridges and is fairly emotionally absent, but does not paint him as either the villain or the hero. The movie deals with religious zealotry but does not take a stance on the positive or negative aspects of religion.

So yeah, I'd say something that made the movie interesting was that the POINT is up to you, it's up to how YOU interpret the events and feel about the characters. It doesn't spell anything out for you. It just evenly lays some themes out and we watch events unfold. There is no hero. There is no anti-hero.
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Re: There will be blood

Postby Malice » Tue Apr 01, 2008 6:52 am UTC

I'm not sure how you could watch TWBB and not come away thinking of Plainview as villainous. The film observes him, from his humble beginnings all the way down to his dead end, but it in no way seems to approve of his actions. The character is played to be evil.
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Re: There will be blood

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Apr 01, 2008 1:53 pm UTC

That pretty much solidifies my point.

You perceived him to be villainous because the movie closes with him at a dead end and because you don't like his character?

I perceived that the world failed him and was driven mad by every around hims lack of ambition. He was a moral man who did right by everyone who crossed his path, and everyone let him down. In the end, even his adopted son. He was emotionally distant, and harsh, but never malicious, and never unfair.

And as for the end:
Spoiler:
It's safe to say he's a wealthy man with some clout in high ups at this point, yes? Do you think the death of one obscure, financially ruined man is going to REALLY put him in jail? Did it seem like Plainview is the type of man to take advantage of the court system to squeeze out of this one? I vote no, which again, points to his character.


Granted, the book has been sitting on my shelf for 5 months now...
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Re: There will be blood

Postby Malice » Wed Apr 02, 2008 1:23 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:That pretty much solidifies my point.

You perceived him to be villainous because the movie closes with him at a dead end and because you don't like his character?

I perceived that the world failed him and was driven mad by every around hims lack of ambition. He was a moral man who did right by everyone who crossed his path, and everyone let him down. In the end, even his adopted son. He was emotionally distant, and harsh, but never malicious, and never unfair.


Pish-tosh. He didn't give a shit about the town, so long as he was making his money; he continually cheated Paul Dano's character out of his 5,000 dollars (so much for never doing right by anyone). To say he was emotionally distant is an understatement--the man was virtually sociopathic. He used his son in his work, and when his son got in the way he abandoned him. He sucked people dry as if they were milkshakes.

Who let him down? I mean, honestly, who? You say the world failed him. When did that ever happen? There are only two people who ever went against his wishes--his adversary (most of whose actions seem well-deserved), and the old man who wouldn't sell. Remind me, because maybe I'm just forgetting, but from what I recall the movie could have been called "Daniel Plainview is a dick."
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Re: There will be blood

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Apr 02, 2008 5:15 am UTC

Town: He built a school, upgraded the church, and brought his workers there to live. We saw the town improve. We saw fields being planted. He basically went into a plot of land that had some shacks and people eeking out an existence on rocky crappy land, and made it INTO a town. If he hadn't cared about the town, he would have just built his rig.

People: He shut down the derrick when a man was killed, and ensured he was taken care of in accordance to his wishes. He did not pawn the task off to an underling, he ensured affairs were in order himself. He confirmed with a business adversary that there was oil in the town and was respectful and polite to the man. He ALWAYS afforded people the time of day for conversation so long as they had something worthwhile to say to him. He always treated people with initial respect and politeness, something that was completely absent from many characters.

Eli (i think his name was eli, right? the false preacher): This was his opponent, so of course he was going to slight the guy. The other brother WAS paid (not the exaggerated amount, but was paid).

His son: His son was not *used* in business, he was included. He was unable to deal with his sons disability and sent him away to get well, upon returning, his son chose to not be part of Daniels life. While Daniel didn't make any effort to learn sign language, it seemed to me that his son didn't make any effort to speak to Daniel. They abandoned each other, but it was plain that Daniel cared for his son, and only 'abandoned' him when his son openly stated that he was leaving.

Which brings me tot he next point of:

People disappointing and letting him down. The fake brother who came was being trained as an equal, but wasn't. The businessman who insisted on conducting business in an unprofessional and borderline threatening manner, telling Daniel that he must sell because of his son (Which was akin to me, to Eli saying "you must donate money to save your soul"... i.e., disingenuous and playing on someone's weakness, which Daniel recognized). The father (Abel?) who beat his daughter. The son who decided he hated his father.

Personally, I found Eli to be a horrible, manipulative, smarmy man. There is an interesting parallel between him and Daniel, as Eli prey's upon peoples needs of spiritual fulfillment, and Daniel prey's on peoples needs of material fulfillment. While Daniel follows through with his word and improves the town and provides work for people, Eli promises what? Out with the demons? Abuses his father? Interlopes into peoples finances to selfishly garner more money 'for the church'?

And as for the old man who went against Daniels wishes, the two of them, as men, reached an agreement. Daniel bowed to his will, and the man respectfully sold his property. It was an interesting example of Daniel supporting the philosophy of capitalism. He could have stiff armed the guy and made his life hell or brought legal matters to bear, but he didn't.

So yea, I guess what I'm wordily trying to work at is that Daniel is a shrewd and efficient businessman, and we seem to condemn him for that. He was an emotionally distant and harsh man, but hardly a monster. What I enjoyed about his character was that he was human, he had flaws, and he had strengths, and I found I could accept him for who he was and think all the more highly for him. And I hated some of his character flaws. But compared to Eli, or the fake brother, I don't think theres really any question of who's the better man.
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Re: There will be blood

Postby Malice » Wed Apr 02, 2008 10:55 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:The businessman who insisted on conducting business in an unprofessional and borderline threatening manner, telling Daniel that he must sell because of his son (Which was akin to me, to Eli saying "you must donate money to save your soul"... i.e., disingenuous and playing on someone's weakness, which Daniel recognized).


Most of your post is a matter of interpretation. This, though, I feel is factual. If I recall correctly, the man did not say, "you must sell because of your son". As I recall, the man said, "I'll make you a millionaire right here from one minute to the next." Daniel says, "What will I do then?" This throws the other guy for a loop. "Well... you could raise your boy." It's not said like, "You're a terrible father," it's said like, "I dunno, family could keep you busy maybe?" Then Daniel threatens to kill the man.

But compared to Eli, or the fake brother, I don't think theres really any question of who's the better man.


Yeah, there's no question there that the better man was the multiple murderer.
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Re: There will be blood

Postby TheAmazingRando » Sat Apr 12, 2008 8:01 am UTC

The other businessman was only unprofessional after Plainview was rude unprofessional to him. Plainview goads him into saying a perfectly innocent statement, which he perceives as an insult and grounds for a death threat.

I think there's no doubt that Plainview is a selfish and uncaring character, and his acts of compassion seem to be outward rather than heartfelt. He rushes to save his son after his accident, but ignores all his cries of "please don't leave me!" and runs out to watch the oil derrick until dawn. I believe there's a short exchange that goes something like:
"Where's your son?"
"Inside."
"Is he ok?"
"No." and Plainview just stands there and watches the oil, shows no sign of caring about anything other than the money he will be making. I don't think this makes it at all apparent that he truly cares about his son. In plenty of other scenes he is borderline abusive towards him (manhandling him on numerous occasions, such as force-feeding him a glass of milk). Any abandonment his son shows towards him is after this incident. He abandoned his son first, his son responded in kind.

I don't think Plainview was a strictly evil character, I think most of the point of the movie was to show the destruction of greed. He was a shrewd businessman, yeah, but that isn't his flaw. His flaw is his lack of regard for humanity as anything other than tools of business. He laughs at the concept of the men he works with as "people" and admits that his son was only a business tool. He helps the people, yes, but it's little more than good PR. Same for any respect he shows towards people, he even admits to his (fake) brother that he hates just about everyone he meets. His civility is just for show.

And killing his fake brother? Sure, he lied to him, but there really isn't a difference between a brother you never knew existed and a complete stranger. The man befriended him, helped him, hardly swindled him, certainly didn't deserve death.

Plainview isn't the only character with corrupt priorities. Abel, from what little we see of him, puts religious ritual over his family's welfare (beating his daughter when she doesn't pray). Eli puts sensationalism, self-promotion, and a constant greed for money over his religion, to the point of denouncing his own worth and the existence of God for the possibility of riches.

Plainview and Eli were both enemies, but neither of them were moral people. And I'll agree that their drives themselves (religious zealotry, capitalist enterprise) weren't denounced so much as the corrupt ways in which they strive for them were. But that doesn't mean that they weren't both examples of how money corrupts. And when Plainview does get his riches, he wastes them on needless extravagance (a two-lane bowling alley?) and alcohol. I think that's the point of the movie: money isn't worth abandoning your principles for.

Apart from that...
I loved this movie. The cinematography was exquisite and beautiful, the acting was top-notch, and the characters were well written. I also thought the humor was well-placed, even if I knew from the beginning that "I drink your milkshake" was coming.
I still think No Country For Old Men deserved Best Picture, but this was in close close second.


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