There Will Be Blood

I’ve chosen “There Will Be Blood,” specifically the last scene, because it displays the culmination  of Daniel Plainview and Eli Sunday’s individual mental developments throughout the film, and the way in which these two minds which effected each other so greatly violently clash at the end of the film. The dialog, and the bowling alley’s straight and narrow architecture, both convey the character’s mental states, specifically Daniel’s one-track mind set in the scene. Specifically, Daniel’s dialogue refers to the film’s recurrent metaphor comparing the consumption of food to the consumption of oil. He says, “I drink your milkshake,” and “I told you I would eat you up.” He also declares, “I am the third revelation,” which simultaneously suggests Daniel’s exorbitant opinion of himself, and his desire to take Eli onto himself, to become him in a sense, feeling himself to be more of a prophet than the Eli (a preacher), is. In response, Eli unsuccessfully pleads, “we’re brothers,” in an attempt to associate himself with Daniel as an equal, not an inferior to be imbibed. In a final startling image, Daniel bashes Eli’s head in with a bowling pin, symbolic of his exorbitance, his controversial wealth (should he do as he pleases with the money he earns and works for or give it back to the community that he took the oil from, not always entirely honestly?), and Eli’s blood pools around his bashed in head on the alley floor. The comparison of this imagery to the oil that Daniel spent his life drilling is not initially apparent; what seals the connection in the viewer’s mind are Daniel’s last words, “I’m finished.” He has “drilled” his last, received his final profit, his career is over.

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