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There Will Be Blood

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A controversial but critically acclaimed 2007 film starring Daniel Day-Lewis, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor. Written, directed, and co-produced by Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood was nominated for seven other Academy Awards including Best Picture. It also won Best Cinematography for Robert Elswit. Loosely based on the first half of the novel Oil! by Upton Sinclair.The story takes place in the late 19th century and early 20th, during the Southern California oil boom. It centers on Daniel Plainview, an oilman who travels the state buying people's land to drill. He is accompanied by his young adopted son and "business partner", H.W. One day he gets a tip from a young man named Paul about undiscovered oil fields on his family's land in Little Boston. As he buys up land in the town and starts drilling, tension builds between Daniel and Paul's twin brother Eli, a young charismatic evangelist who runs the local Church of the Third Revelation.Despite much difficulty during the drilling, including H.W.'s injury and resulting deafness; Daniel's humiliating baptism at the hands of Eli; and the long process of building an oil pipeline to avoid shipping costs (which is more dramatic — and traumatic — than it sounds), Daniel pulls it off and makes a fortune. But by the end of the movie, it is clear that his morality has completely eroded, and has been dissolving throughout the film.It is a complex and even confusing movie. Many left the theater asking themselves, "What was that about?" Unlike most Hollywood films, it eschews conventional plotting in order to focus almost entirely on exploring a character. One might say that in this case, the character is the plot.Which is not to suggest that not much happens. Plenty happens. And there "is" blood. (But very, very little.)
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2012-12-11T06:36:58Z
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2016-07-01T19:27:17Z
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Films of 2005-2009
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Exactly What It Says on the Tin
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Moral Event Horizon
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Website: Cracked
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Mind Rape
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Mind Rape: Daniel lays a truly savage one on Eli in the climax, reducing the man to tears. For bonus points, we only have Daniel's word on Paul's success and the drainage of Eli's land, but his delivery is strong enough that the victim doesn't question it. and then he bashes Eli's brains out with an old-timey wood bowling pin. While he could be telling the truth, he did lie to Eli to twist him up with brother/jealousy issues. He said he gave Paul $10,000 dollars for the information, when really he only gave him $500. Eli has spent much of the film trying to get paid $5000 for selling his land, while Daniel has made a disgustingly large fortune off of it.
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The Film of the Book
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The Film of the Book: Anderson adapted only the opening chapters of Sinclair's novel. The book Oil! actually is about the life of H.W.
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 There Will Be Blood / int_17379a53
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Hypocrite
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Hypocrite: Daniel ensures that Mary Sunday is no longer hit by her father for not saying her prayers (for whatever motive, see Pet the Dog below,) but when one of his competitors makes a suggestion about spending more time with H.W Daniel furiously demands "Did you just tell me how to run my family?" and tells him he'll cut his throat. He reminds the man of this moment when he humiliates him in the restaurant later, pointing out how he is spending time with H.W (who has just that day come back from being sent away to boarding school for ages). Daniel actually has a lot of moments of this, as he manipulates and bullies people into doing what he wants by faking care. For one example, there's the way he gets the townsfolk to sell them his land; he makes an impassioned speech about how "it is an abomination to [him], that in this great country of ours, any child should look upon a loaf of bread as a luxury" while promising to bring them wealth. His oil does bring them wealth, but Daniel couldn't care less about any of them, and holds them in total contempt.
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This entry is trivia, which is cool and all, but not a trope. On a work, it goes on the Trivia tab. Acting for Two
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Acting for Two: Paul Dano, originally cast as Paul Sunday, took the larger role of Eli Sunday (making the brothers twins) after Kel O'Neill departed the production.
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 There Will Be Blood / int_27942b18
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Sissy Villain
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Sissy Villain: Eli Sunday.
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 There Will Be Blood / int_280bd446
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Morality Chain
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Morality Chain: It doesn't stop him from murdering his fake brother Henry, but his relationship with H.W. seems to be the only tenuous link keeping Daniel attached to the rest of the human race. And before he found out that he was a fake, Henry, too; as he mentioned that the man's arrival gave him "a second breath of life."
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The Chessmaster
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The Chessmaster: Daniel.
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Berserk Button
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Berserk Button: Don't ever tell Daniel how to run his family. Ever. "One night I'm going to come to you, inside of your house, wherever you're sleeping, and I'm going to cut your throat."
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Pop-Star Composer
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Pop Star Composer: Jonny Greenwood composed the score, but also used classical cues and some of his own previous score from the documentary Bodysong.
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Corrupt Corporate Executive
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Corrupt Corporate Executive: Daniel Plainview, of course.
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Mugging the Monster
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Mugging the Monster: The baptism scene. One can argue that Eli knew damn well what he was doing, especially considering how he emphasizes the child abandonment, but slapping and humiliating a man like that in front of god and company was not the wisest decision Eli Sunday ever made.
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Villain Protagonist
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Villain Protagonist: Plainview.
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Parody
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Parody: There will be Bud, a Youtube trailer for a film about a man's rise to power among the hippies of Southern California. Darth Vader vs. Daniel Plainview. Guess who comes across as more sinister?
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SceneryPorn
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Scenery Porn: There's a reason it won an Oscar for cinematography.
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Ambiguously Gay
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Ambiguously Gay: The effeminate Eli Sunday, who at the end praises Bandy's grandson's physical beauty, then breaks down crying about having sinned in ways he'd never thought existed. He may just have been crying about having lost all his money in bad investments.
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Pyrrhic Villainy
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Pyrrhic Villainy: Daniel, though unbelievably rich, gave up what morals he had, disowned his son, lives in isolation, is hated by most everyone, and kills a few people in the timeline of the movie. Being completely alone was actually what he wanted all along, it might sound sick but this is more a case of Earn Your Happy Ending.
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The Caligula
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The Caligula: Daniel.
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 There Will Be Blood / int_3d501f70
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Punctuated! For! Emphasis!
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Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "I! DRINK! YOUR! MILKSHAKE!"
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Ham-to-Ham Combat
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Ham-to-Ham Combat: Pretty much any exchange between Daniel and Eli.
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Stupid Statement Dance Mix
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Stupid Statement Dance Mix: Type "There Will Be Blood" in the YouTube search box, it is guaranteed at least half of the results are "I drink your milkshake!" videos.
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Manipulative Bastard
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Manipulative Bastard: Both Daniel & Eli.
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 There Will Be Blood / int_4189a662
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Pet the Dog
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One of the main points of the movie is just how much H.W. is or is not a Pet the Dog / Morality Pet for Plainview. In their final confrontation Plainview tells H.W. that he was exactly this: Daniel adopted H.W. because he believed posing as a family man would help him talk people into selling their oil rights to him. Yet the movie seems to suggest that Daniel did in fact love his son as much as he could love anything. Note the embrace when H.W. comes back from school, or Daniel's rage when his parenting skills are questioned, or Daniel's anguished "I abandoned my boy" when Eli makes him confess in front of the congregation. Most poignant is the quick flashback at the end, after Daniel has disowned H.W., when we see affectionate moments between father and son, followed by Daniel drinking heavily. Also, when H.W loses his hearing, Daniel's frantic questions of where he got hurt, and that he has to tell them if his head got damaged, his fear looks genuine. While it's true that he then seems more concerned with the oil than H.W's health (calmly replying "No, he isn't" when someone asks if H.W is OK,) that moment suggests that he does care to some extent.
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Anti-Hero
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Anti-Hero: Daniel is a Type V
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Tragic Mistake
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Tragic Mistake
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Parallel Porn Titles
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Parallel Porn Titles: There exists one called There Will Be Cum.
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Abusive Parents
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Abusive Parents: Daniel and the Sunday father.
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Shout-Out
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Not to mention Eli Sunday (a Shout Out to real-life preacher Billy Sunday).
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 There Will Be Blood / int_4e9c277f
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Happy Flashback
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Happy Flashback: A couple of quick, heartbreakingly affectionate moments between Daniel and young H.W., right after Daniel casts adult H.W. out of the house.
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Society Is to Blame
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Society Is to Blame: Arguably one of the major points of the movie, although there is some question as to whether this is A man with questionable morals being forced down the path to becoming a villain by his peers, who never seem to prove him wrong in his belief that all humans are horrible people that should be shunned or profited from, or whether he was evil to begin with, and society is to blame because it allows him to prosper so much.
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make a to do send a pm add to watchlist drop watch go to watchlist Leavethe Camera Running
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Leave the Camera Running: There are a lot of long, uninterrupted shots in the film, especially during the opening sequence.
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Shown Their Work
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Shown Their Work: As it turns out, the milkshake-drinking-as-oilfield-drainage metaphor is actually paraphrased from the 1924 testimony of Sen. Albert Fall, who was convicted of bribery for selling off oil-drilling rights in what became known as the Teapot Dome scandal. One of them men who bribed him was Edward Doheny, the real-life inspiration for both Plainview and his fictional precursor in Oil!, James Arnold Ross.
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''Psycho'' Strings
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Psycho Strings: That's pretty much the whole soundtrack. With the occasional Drone Of Dread to enforce the point.
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 There Will Be Blood / int_56e068c9
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The Sociopath
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The Sociopath: As has been mentioned, the film is less about the events that happen, and more about the character of Daniel Plainview, and realizing that this is what he is. At first, Daniel seems to simply not like social interactions because many of the people he deals with are quite petty, but in a discussion with his fake brother, he has this rather revealing conversation with him:
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 There Will Be Blood / int_6a0208de
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Evil vs. Evil
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Evil Versus Evil: Let's see, in the left corner we have an (in the beginning) indifferent to life, determined miner who just wants to earn a living. In span of two hours he cheats folks in California to basically work for him like oxes and give him oil to sell, personally kills few people (they had it coming, through), abandons his son because he.. failed him, takes pleasure from dominating everybody and generally perceives the world as much more evil than he is. In the right corner, we have a cowardly, hypocritical preacher who bullies his father and manipulates members of his church. Also, he ultimately sells his soul to Daniel in the end, complete with swift one-way ticket to Hell. Gentlemen, place your bets.
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Trash the Set
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Trashthe Set: In that impressive, dramatic scene where the oil derrick burns, how do you think they made it look so real? They burned the derrick.
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Disabled Character, Disabled Actor
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Disabled Character, Disabled Actor: Deaf actor Russell Harvard as an older H.W. Plainview.
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 There Will Be Blood / int_80f0b68f
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From Nobody to Nightmare
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From Nobody to Nightmare: Daniel Plainview starts out as a dirtied gold-seeker just trying to find some rare minerals without blowing himself up with his own TNT. By the end of the story he has stepped on anyone he has needed to in order to advance his own goals, exploited just about anyone with a speaking role, and killed anyone who betrayed him.
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 There Will Be Blood / int_8768d156
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Nice Hat
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Nice Hat: Daniel's got one.
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LargeHam
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Eli Sunday is a pretty Large Ham himself, first seen when he appears to exorcise a woman with arthritis at the start, and again when he puts Plainview though his embarrassing 'baptism' experience.
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Screams Like a Little Girl
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Screams Like a Little Girl: Eli.
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SmugSnake
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Smug Snake - Eli Sunday is a great example of this trope. He can be charming and charismatic but when faced with a bigger bully than himself he breaks down screaming and crying. He has no trouble beating up his dad but when Daniel drags him through a pool of mud he barely tries to defend himself.
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make a to do send a pm add to watchlist drop watch go to watchlist Steel Eardrums
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Steel Ear Drums: Tragically averted with H.W.
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Villainous Breakdown
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Villainous Breakdown: The second half of the movie is essentially a very long breakdown for Daniel, as he becomes more and more unstable as time goes on. He has a few moments which definitely count by themselves, though, in particular, him slapping the hell out of Eli because Eli couldn't cure H.W. of his deafness, his telling H.W. that he's not his son, and finally, his "The Reason You Suck" Speech given to Eli at the end of the film, culminating in him brutally murdering Eli.
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 There Will Be Blood / int_97bdec7b
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Conversation Casualty
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comment
Conversation Casualty: Daniel Plainview wakes up the man who claims to be his brother, and forces him at gunpoint to say who he really is. During the man's confession, Daniel puts away the gun. When the man is done explaining himself, however, Daniel unexpectedly draws the gun again and kills him.
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 There Will Be Blood / int_9d0f0c36
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Black and Gray Morality
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Black and Gray Morality: There aren't many sympathetic characters in this movie. H.W. and Mary Sunday are probably the only ones.
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 There Will Be Blood / int_a1b6642f
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The Danza
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The Danza: The main character is played by Daniel "Plainview" Day-Lewis, and the Eli's twin brother is named Paul, who are both played by Paul Dano.
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 There Will Be Blood / int_a28745d3
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Drone of Dread
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With the occasional Drone Of Dread to enforce the point.
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 There Will Be Blood / int_ad753668
type
Devil in Plain Sight
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comment
Devil in Plain Sight: Daniel is the devil in plain view. Get it?
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 There Will Be Blood / int_add28485
type
Jerkass
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comment
Jerkass: Daniel, though Eli isn't much better.
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 There Will Be Blood / int_ae9735a5
type
NietzscheWannabe
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comment
Nietzsche Wannabe: Guess who??
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 There Will Be Blood / int_b02dca7b
type
Zig-Zagging Trope
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comment
Zig-Zagging Trope: Good vs. Evil... which is which?
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 There Will Be Blood / int_b03b10fb
type
Aluminum Christmas Trees
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comment
Aluminum Christmas Trees: Milkshakes aren't a random, unexpected example of Anachronism Stew: Milkshakes (at least whiskey and whiskey cream-based ones) have been around by that name since the early-to-mid 1880s, and are appropriate for a metaphor by an alcoholic oil baron. PTA also based that line off of an actual quote from U.S. Senator Albert Fall during an oil-related Congressional hearing in the 1920s; it amused Anderson that a term such as "milkshake" would be used as an analogy in a senator's testimony.
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 There Will Be Blood / int_b6246d0
type
BlackComedy
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comment
Black Comedy: Though not a comedy itself, the film is filled with darkly comic moments and scenes that are simultaneously absurd and horrifying.
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 There Will Be Blood / int_b7586225
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Put on a Bus
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Put on a Bus: Daniel abandons his son on a train to a boarding school, and he doesn't appear again until the last few scenes.
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 There Will Be Blood / int_b8dadd77
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Misanthrope Supreme
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Misanthrope Supreme: Daniel does not like people.
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 There Will Be Blood / int_bc4736df
type
The Alcoholic
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comment
The Alcoholic: Daniel.
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 There Will Be Blood / int_bdf4f234
type
Older Than They Look
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comment
Older Than They Look: Despite the 16 year Time Skip, no makeup is used to make Paul Dano look any older in the final scene, for... some reason.
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 There Will Be Blood / int_beaab89e
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Sociopathic Hero
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Sociopathic Hero: Daniel.
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 There Will Be Blood / int_bf97a2b3
type
Meaningful Name
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comment
Meaningful Name: Daniel Plainview. Just in case you don't quite get it, it's referring to the saying "Devil in plain view." Not to mention Eli Sunday (a Shout Out to real-life preacher Billy Sunday). Also Paul. H.W. is never given a full name, because Daniel never sees him as a complete person. The entire Sunday family Sunday is a religiously-significant day of the week in Christianity, and the Sunday family also happen to be the most religious family in Little Boston. Paul Sunday is named after Paul the Apostle. The biblical Paul received a revelation of Jesus and then spread the gospel. Similarly, Paul Sunday receives oil money from Plainview and then uses that to spread out into new oil fields. Also, Paul the Apostle claimed a distinct separation from the church in Jerusalem, just as Paul Sunday is separate from the rest of his family. Eli Sunday is named after Eli, which is both the Hebrew name of God as well as a Biblical Israeli judge. There is irony in the divine interpretation of the name, because although Eli Sunday starts his own church to preach his own gospel (as if he were God) he is shown to be instead incredibly immoral and powerless, unable to heal H.W. and easily physically subdued. The Biblical judge Eli dies suddenly after learning that his power has suddenly been stripped from him, a close parallel to Eli Sunday's powerless desperation after the Great Depression. Abel Sunday is named after Abel, a son of Adam and Eve who was murdered by his brother Cain. Both Abels are shepherds. Abel is regarded as the first victim of evil in the Bible, and the cinematic Abel is the first one to sell his land to Plainview. Mary Sunday is a reference to the Virgin Mary.
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I Have No Son!
 There Will Be Blood / int_c07682c8
comment
I Have No Son: Justified. In the second-to-last scene, Daniel reveals to H.W that was the son of the worker that died down Daniel's his well at the beginning, and Daniel adopted him because he needed a pretty face to help him make business deals.
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 There Will Be Blood / int_c1548ff7
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Soundtrack Dissonance
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comment
Soundtrack Dissonance: In the end, the movie lives up to its title. Civilized men return to their animal selves, brutality reigns, blood is had—blackout to credits with a rollicking performance of a Brahms Violin Concerto so you can dance your way out of the theater. Done earlier in the film for the opposite effect - seemingly mundane scenes are accompanied by a relentlessly foreboding soundtrack.
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“The Reason You Suck” Speech
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comment
"The Reason You Suck" Speech: The milkshake speech is this, combined with some general Evil Gloating. "You're just the afterbirth that slithered out of your mother's filth! They should have put you in a glass jar on the mantlepiece. Stop crying you sniveling ass! Stop your nonsense!"
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 There Will Be Blood / int_d0293efe
type
Deliberate Values Dissonance
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comment
Deliberate Values Dissonance: When Mr. Plainview buys the Sunday Family land, the women are dismissed from talking business. Surprisingly, Mr. Plainview is actually less dissonant than the rest of the community.
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 There Will Be Blood / int_d168d3db
type
Enforced Method Acting
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comment
Enforced Method Acting: During the baptism scene, Paul Dano is actually smacking Daniel Day-Lewis around. Although, knowing Day-Lewis, he probably told him to actually hit him.
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 There Will Be Blood / int_d7660c79
type
Stepford Smiler
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comment
Stepford Smiler: Daniel Plainview spends much of the movie in his public persona, trying to charm people into selling him the right to drill for oil on their land. He even goes so far as to pass off the son of a deceased oil worker as his own.
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 There Will Be Blood / int_d8c95c39
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Good Colors, Evil Colors
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Good Colors, Evil Colors: Oil equals corruption, milk equals kindness. (or "evil" and "good" if you prefer)
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type
Enthusiasm vs. Stoicism
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comment
Enthusiasm Versus Stoicism
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 There Will Be Blood / int_e05dbb45
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Day of the Week Name
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comment
Day of the Week Name: The Sundays.
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 There Will Be Blood / int_e4d8a81b
type
Dead Person Impersonation
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comment
Dead Person Impersonation: Daniel's half-brother, Henry, who shows up all of a sudden later turns out to be an impostor. He knew Daniel's real half-brother, who died of tuberculosis, and took his identity so he could get work with Daniel.
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 There Will Be Blood / int_e60e0194
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Time Skip
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comment
Time Skip: The last half-hour jumps to 1927.
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 There Will Be Blood / int_eae2cd4c
type
Sinister Minister
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comment
Sinister Minister: Eli Sunday is obsessed with his church, and is probably just as power-hungry as Daniel. The weird part is that, even though Eli is greedy, very unforgiving, a mooch, extremely over-the-top, and clearly a wackjob, his church has many followers and grows throughout the film.
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 There Will Be Blood / int_eef82a92
type
Oscar Bait
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comment
Oscar Bait
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 There Will Be Blood / int_ef211b6d
type
Gory Discretion Shot
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comment
Gory Discretion Shot: The murders of Henry and Eli, but averted with the deaths of two workers down Daniel's wells.
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 There Will Be Blood / int_f6fd6e54
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Earn Your Happy Ending
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Being completely alone was actually what he wanted all along, it might sound sick but this is more a case of Earn Your Happy Ending.
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 There Will Be Blood / int_f98860d5
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MisterDanger
 There Will Be Blood / int_f98860d5
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Mister Danger: Daniel again.
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 There Will Be Blood / int_faa6d71f
type
Arc Words
 There Will Be Blood / int_faa6d71f
comment
Arc Words: Played with; Daniel Plainview's name as an interrogative apostrophe serves the role of Arc Words, but the characters use different variations rather than always the same form ("Mister Plainview?", "Daniel Plainview?", "Daniel?", "Mister Daniel?"…)
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 There Will Be Blood / int_fbb17992
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Mood Dissonance
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Mood Dissonance: For some people, the final scene goes from hilarious to utterly horrifying when Daniel murders Eli. Yes, the narm actually makes the film better.
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There Will Be Blood

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