Thursday, May 15, 2008
There Will Be Blood
If you haven't seen this movie yet, and don't want any details spoiled, you may not want to read this post. And you may also want to go see this movie. Soon! Really! It's good. Rent it! Or buy it! ... My boyfriend and I watched There Will Be Blood last night—and what a film! I'm a bit hesitant to say this about a movie I just saw, but it has to be one of the top 10 movies I've seen in my life. The parallels to silent film. The eerie soundtrack. Daniel Day Lewis's performance—his voice like an old radio star. All of the ambiguities—are Paul Sunday and Eli Sunday two different people, does E.W. Plainview know that Henry Plainview is a fake, what is the significance of the last line "I'm finished."
But my blog is about the way we communicate about death, so I want to bring up one particular genius maneuver on the part of P.T. Anderson. There are several incidents throughout the film that make you think you are going to see blood: a couple of deaths occur in oil wells that have the potential to be bloody; when Daniel Plainview is baptized and has the metaphorical blood of Christ poured over him, for a second you think it might end up being real blood; when Daniel kills his impostor brother with a shot to the head. But none of these bring blood. It is only in the last scene, when Daniel beats Eli Sunday to death that you actually see blood. And then Daniel Plainview simply declares "I'm finished." On one level, those words could be coming from the director himself. Anderson could be saying to the viewer, I promised you in the title "There Will Be Blood," now there is blood ... and now "I'm finished."