Thoughts on There Will Be Blood

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Joshua proposes that Daniel Plainview is Satan. Michael agrees. Heck, even Rolling Stone agrees. I don’t.

There Will Be Blood starts off below the earth. Daniel Plainview is hacking away at the dirt, slamming his pick ax into the rocks. He’s covered in dirt. He’s covered in the powdered rocks. Quickly he falls, breaking his leg. After he arises from the pit, he slithers on his back into town, and for the rest of the movie he’ll bear the limp.

Again, Josh suggests that this is a serpentine introduction to Plainview, who is wounded and licking up the dust. That seems a bit too cute though, and Jon rightly points out that it could just as easily be a heel wound, showing that Plainview is actually the messianic seed.

As Daniel Plainview moves to oil, he is still slamming that pick ax into the ground. As it breaks through the bone of the earth, the oil comes bubbling up. Plainview’s got a crew now, and while he and a co-worker pound away in the oil, we notice that their rubber coats match the oil. They look just like it. More oil drips down from the cans used to scoop it up. It baptizes them, as the men become covered in oil. But then an accident occurs. The rod and the cans crash down upon the oilmen, killing Plainview’s associate and wounding him. As he arises from the pit yet again, we notice that he’s bleeding. We notice that his blood has mixed with the oil. He truly is an oilman.

The fatality was H. W.’s father. We saw him in an earlier scene just long enough to witness him christen his baby’s head with oil. That same oil required his life. The oil gives, and the oils takes.

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