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There Will Be Blood

There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007)

I'd say there is about 2% shouting in There Will be Blood. Plainview is a salesman, and if you haven't been exposed to a certain type of salesman, then you should count yourself lucky and use this film as an innocent way to experience them without literally getting locked in a room with one or more. Some people believe that the final scene is over-the-top; the whole milkshake/bowling alley diptych, but it actually is a mirror of the earlier scene where Daniel spent his most-open, honest exchanges in the film. Those were with his "brother" Henry. They talked about what they shared in the past and what's "inside" Daniel as he becomes more and more successful and why he acts the way he does; at least his rationalization of why he does what he does. And to tell you the truth, you don't have to be an American capitalist to relate to his thoughts. He wants to win at all costs and doesn't enjoy seeing others do well. Sure, it could be a capitalist who thinks such things, but it could also be a socialist dictator or an imperialist from our ancient past. The fact that when Daniel finds that there is a bit of his exposed soul out there with Henry, who turns out to not be his brother, means that Daniel has to kill him and get rid of any evidence of his true feelings from anyone who isn't of his own blood. This can also be seen as a parallel theme to why Daniel isn't as open and honest with his "son" because he, too, is not "of his blood".

The same thing happens at the end of the film. Daniel apparently likes to hang out in his "War Room", his bowling alley, at night. He drinks and he passes out, right in the middle of the bowling lane where he undoubtedly tries to violently mow down all the little enemy pins with his violent bowling ball(s). Poor, overmatched Eli believes that he still has the trump card on Daniel, so he enters his boudoir of violent success with absolutely an innocent's concept of the kind of battle he will find himself in. Daniel seems to be in hog heaven when he has a chance to pay back somebody else who has seen him expose his weakness, even if in that case, Daniel was still in salesman mode and was never sincere for a second, but Eli could still lord it over him in front of his parishioners. The fact that Daniel could drink Eli's milkshake before destroying him physically is Daniel's psychological payback to Eli for having the audacity to believe that he was his equal in any regard, including salesmanship. The drinking of people's "milkshake"s isn't really over-the-top either, since Daniel knows that Eli is not long for this world. Why not give him a personal show even more spectacular than the ones that Eli presented in his "church"? I just find it very interesting that the desire for oil as a way to defeat an enemy and to become and strengthen oneself as a "superpower" does have its satiric value, even if I still don't see the movie as a "true" critique of the current U.S. administration.

I drank some of my daughter's chocolate milkshake in Alaska. I used a straw. It was very difficult for me to actually get it to pass through the straw because it seemed to collapse in on itself the harder I sucked. The way I was able to get a good taste of the milkshake was to take the straw out and suck on the bottom (opposite end) of it. It made me start to wonder why Daniel had such an easy time drinking Eli's milkshake.

One other thing I started thinking about (notwithstanding the earlier comment that "I drink your milkshake" was a direct political quote) was that I always ordered a chocolate malt(ed) instead of a milkshake because I always found it easier to pass through the straw, let alone the fact that it had more flavor. Now, did Daniel drink Eli's milkshake because it was the more difficult way to get what he wanted? Daniel does seem to occasionally do things the difficult way. I want to ask all the people who recall the beginning of the film, how in the hell did Daniel drag himself, apparently for miles, with a broken leg, up out of his mine and all across the rugged territory he had to navigate to get to lay claim to his find? I realize that he's a tough S.O.B., and I don't mean this early scene to be a flaw in the film. Maybe you can just fill in some of the details which we all miss from the time he's screwed to the time he makes it to the assayer's office. What do you think happened? I'd say it was as significant as anything else that IS ACTUALLY SHOWN in the film.