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40 movies for 40 days: There Will Be Blood

For the fourth movie on my Lent list, I’m exploring Paul Thomas Anderson’s “There Will Be Blood.”

Here’s a quick synopsis: As oilman Daniel Plainview’s (Daniel Day-Lewis) wealth increases, so does his social and moral alienation.

I love “There Will Be Blood” because…

…Day-Lewis consumes the role of Plainview. When it comes to acting, there’s DDL and then everybody else.

…it taught me another use for bowling pins.

…papa Sunday also deserves a couple whacks to the head with a bowling pin.

…I’ve used the milkshake analogy to explain how natural resources “disappear.”

…of the train scene when baby H.W. tugs at Plainview’s moustache.

…Anderson filmed the accident that leaves H.W. deaf as tensely terrifying as anything I’ve seen in a thriller.

…H.W. is a sweetheart despite his horrible paternal role model.

…Plainview loves the kid in his own screwed up way.

…we never learn the basis for the initials, H.W.

…no dialogue is spoken in the first 20 or so minutes.

…a barely-controlled rage always seems to be simmering in Plainview.

…Eli Sunday (Paul Dano) humiliates Plainview in the church.

…when William Bandy demands Plainview join church before he will lease his land, Plainview responds, “I’ll give you $3,000…I’ll give you $5,000.”

…Plainview spends a lot of time sitting around studying people (usually Eli).

…Plainview and Eli are both charlatans.

…of the simply magnificent sets.

…of Robert Elswit’s subdued yet stunning cinematography. It’s mostly dark, to match Plainview’s soul, but sometimes an amazingly blue sky or a fiery inferno serves as a backdrop.

…this dialogue sums up Plainview’s character: “I have a competition in me. I want no one else to succeed. I hate most people. There are times when I look at people and I see nothing worth liking.” Dude could have been talking about his reflection.

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