There Will Be Blood is a historical drama written and directed by P.T Anderson. The film explores themes of ambition, loneliness, lust for power, false personas, hatred, lack of faith, mistrust and loss of humanity. Anderson explores these themes through the characters of Daniel Plainview and Eli Sunday. In addition to character exploration, Anderson uses a variety of cinematic techniques in order to subtextually portray these themes. These techniques include, contrasting lighting, long shots, wide angles and mis en scene. The first themes to be explored in There Will Be Blood are ambition and loneliness. The film begins with a wide shot of a vast and open terrain. This signifies the emptiness of our setting. We meet the character of Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day Lewis) deep below the ground in a mining shaft. Plainview is working in absolute darkness. This could be symbolic of Plainview’s current economic or social position. However, his loneliness and labor is a product of his ambition and lust for power. This ambition is visually revealed to us when Plainview climbs out of his mine and makes his way into town to sell his silver. All of this is done with a broken leg. This ascension out of the darkness of the shaft is visually symbolic of Plainview’s path to power. Plainview begins drilling for oil and becomes a more powerful figure. God like imagery is now associated with Plainview in order to visually portray this power. For example, pools of light gather behind Daniel’s head as he looks down into an oil rig. This makes him appear to be holy
or God like. Eventually, a worker dies in Plainview’s oil rig and Daniel is left covered in blood and oil; this is a reoccurring visual element in the film. Another reoccurring element of the film is the association of oil with death. The worker leaves behind a child named H.W who Daniel adopts. The child wears white garments which are contrasted with the darkness of Daniel’s attire and the blackness of the oil that...
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