Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007



Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) builds an empire.


Daniel Plainview is a prospector. He adopts HW (Dillon Freasier) that he will consider as his own son. Paul Sunday (Paul Dano) gives him a tip: there’s oil in Little Boston. Plainview immediately negotiates the land and starts drilling. His company quickly flourishes.

Plainview has to deal with Paul Sunday’s brother Elie (Paul Dano), a pastor for the Church of the Third Revelation, very influent in the community. He has to deal with his son becoming deaf after a gas blowout. Later on, he will have to deal with a man who pretends to be Henry (Kevin J. O’Connor), his brother.

The more success he gets, the more he’s afraid to lose his fortune. Everyone turns out to be a potential competitor, including HW (Russell Harvard) who wants to start his own business. Daniel feels betrayed.

You’re not my son. You’re just a little piece of competition. Bastard from a basket.

He becomes an old man, angry, isolated and drunk. Elie comes to see him again for money because he’s broke. Except this time he has no land to offer in return, Daniel already drilled everything.

Drainage! Drainage, Eli, you boy. Drained dry. I’m so sorry. Here, if you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and I have a straw. There it is, that’s a straw, you see? Watch it. Now, my straw reaches acroooooooss the room and starts to drink your milkshake. I… drink… your… milkshake!

He won. He can get rid of Elie too.


There Will Be Blood is about what’s left.

Daniel is a very ambitious self-made man. He’s a good man since he raises a child as if it was his own – even though he makes him drink whiskey. Daniel is not afraid to get his hands dirty. His hard work is rewarded with success. It’s well deserved. He did earn it. Daniel definitely represents a vision of the American Dream.

One question remains about his driver. Is he after money, popularity, power…? It’s not clear. Daniel doesn’t really share any vision. He is not just obsessed with success, he wants the others to fail. He’s fueled with anger and paranoia.

I have a competition in me. I want no one else to succeed.

That means he doesn’t only fight against everything or everyone who’s on his way to success (Elie, Henry or HW) but he terminates. He’s a predator.

I told you I would to eat you!

Unlike the Joker who needs Batman so there’s a balance in this world, Daniel just wants to be alone – with no counter power.

Well, if it’s in me, it’s in you. There are times when I… I look at people and I see nothing worth liking. I want to earn enough money I can get away from everyone.

According to Daniel, there is no possibility for different people to live on Earth together happily.  He’s a fascist leader with no ethos. The problem is he grows so big that he eventually becomes a threat to the entire world. Since he is not interested in helping people grow, he destroys everything around him: faith, innovation, co-operation, the environment. He’s like a cancer which is out of control to the point it could eventually destroy the entire system. From that perspective he also represents a vision of the American Nightmare.

Daniel leaves nothing behind. The empire he built is empty. Once he’s dead there will be no legacy. Nothing. Just blood. He doesn’t care about what’s next anyway. He just wants to see the world burn after him.

I’m finished.

What is our driver? How can we reach our objectives? What would be our legacy?


This publication reflects the views only of the author.

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