I finally saw the Oscar recognized There Will Be Blood this weekend and was stunned a bit by its raw display of anger. The only redeeming aspects of the movie were technical- the soundtrack, composed by Radiohead's Johnny Greenwood, and the excellent acting. The movie develops Plainview's character (Daniel Day Lewis) mostly in the first 10 minutes of the film- a series of scenes depicting his unflagging determination amidst the hard and tragic life of oil prospecting. This battle to success, along with a vague angry past, is what we are given as the reason for Plainview's anger and his hate for everyone, including, as it turns out, his adopted son. I wondered, "Can anger really do this to someone?" In general, I think people are much more mediocre, even in their worst passions. But it is a process. It wasn't really until the end of the film, which comes a bit in fits and starts, that I decided how terrible Plainview was. Because we don't have anyone really good or honest to compare him too, we get lost in his maniacal delusions a bit. Looking back, I understand why his interactions with Mary Sunday put me so on edge. She was the closest thing to purity. H.W. was too much a part of him. His abrupt transition to an adult critical of his father is disappointing but only as abrupt as his loss of hearing.
The movie made me sort of hate rich people. As my friend Ben put it, "it makes you wonder what they did." Something terrible. And is that what hateful terrible rich people do alone in their mansions- shoot things, crush things, and drink themselves into oblivion?
A disheartening film. How does it build us up in any way?