At the end of 2007, Paul Tomas Anderson came back with his There will be blood. The movie had its premiere on December 10, 2007, and a month after that, was the due date of the nomination submission of the 80th Academy Awards. Surprisingly, the movie soon got widely praised because of the wonderful story and excellent performance, and it finally got 8 nominations of the Academy Awards. The movie was thought to be one of the best movies in 2007. As the soul of a movie, the screenplay plays the most important part of making such a good movie. The screenplay is wonderful. In the screenplay, the protagonist Daniel is a quite complex person; the setting of the story represents the character’s inner mental state well; the screenplay shows both sides of capitalism and religion, and that makes the screenplay more rational.
The screenplay has a complex protagonist Daniel, and that makes it a good screenplay. Daniel tells his fake brother Henry, “There are times when I look at people and I see nothing worth liking. I want to make enough money that I can move far away from everyone” (Anderson 74). Daniel’s words show his disgust of other people. However, Daniel does not hate everyone, and his adopted son H.W. is a good example. After the H.W.’s real father died, Daniel adopts H.W. and treats him as his own son. Daniel takes H.W. as his partner on the career and life. When H.W. comes back from the school, Daniel makes a “quickly- grabbing hold” (Anderson 109) of H.W. Those behaviors show Daniel’s sincere love of his son. H.W. is not Daniel’s real son, but Daniel chooses to love him. That actually reveals the inner conflict of Daniel; a part of Daniel wants to love somebody (H.W.), and the other part of him hates the people. Another contradiction of Daniel is the contradiction between his love of H.W. and his career. There is a scene, H.W. is near the oil well. All of a sudden, the gas “[likes] a rocket shoot…with a high squeal and force”, and that “smashes H.W.’s ear drums and blow him off the side of the derrick” (Anderson 56). After that, Daniel “grabs” (Anderson 57) H.W. and “carries him down to safety at the mess hall” (Anderson 57). He shouts, “You’re alright? You’re alright? God dam it talk to me. What’s wrong? What happened? Speak. Tell me!” (Anderson 57). The anxiety of Daniel shows his love of his son. However, only after a while, Daniel exits the house and joins in the firefighting. Between the son he loved and the career he enjoyed, he finally chooses the latter. H.W. is the only people Daniel sincerely loves. However, even H.W. cannot be compared with Daniel’s career. In conclusion, Daniel has his inner conflict: a part of him wants to loves someone, the other part lets him hates everyone. Daniel sincerely loves his son, but he can leave his son for the career. All of those contradiction makes Daniel become a complex character.
The setting of the screenplay represents the character’s mental state well, and that makes There will be blood a good screenplay. At the beginning of the screenplay, Daniel is a prospector, and he works in the “110 degree heat” near a “rough desert terrain” (Anderson 1). The weather is hot and dry, and that represents fidget of Daniel and his burning desire. At the end of the screenplay, H.W. comes to his dad for a conversation. H.W. and George “come walking down this long, dark hallway-entering in from the front door…” (Anderson 114-117). The long, dark hallway not only represents the fortune of Daniel, but also represents the dark mind of Daniel. The long hallway echoes Daniel’s demand of “[moving] far away from everyone” (Anderson 74). Daniel’s mind is twisted and becomes more and more autistic on the journey of chasing money. In the last scene, “It’s dark and then a door is opened…Daniel comes staggering in and goes deep down inside his house” (Anderson 123). Again, the writer emphasizes the “dark” and “deep” of Daniel’s house, and that emphasizes the dark and autistic of Daniel’s mind. The environments in the screenplay reflect the emotions (of the character. In another word, the setting of the screenplay represents the mental states of the character well, and that makes the screenplay good.
The screenplay is good also because it shows both sides on capitalism and religion. In the screenplay, Capitalism and religion do have their benefits, but they also have their weaknesses. As a representative of the capitalism, Daniel gets most of the lands in Little Boston and their oil. He builds his oil empire with Union Oil. At the end of the screenplay, Daniel is in a “very large recreational room in the basement of Plainview Estate” (Anderson 123). That represents the fortune and economic success of Daniel and shows the benefits of capitalism. As the representative of religion, Eli also has his success. With the outstanding eloquence, Eli gets more and more believers. At the end of the screenplay, Eli is “flamboyantly dressed” (Anderson 123), and that represents the success of Eli. With capitalism, Daniel gets his money; with religion, Eli gains his believers. However, behind the success of Daniel and Eli, the screenplay also shows the weaknesses of both the capitalism and religion. Daniel tells his fake brother Henry, “I have a competition in me. I want no one else to succeed. I hate most people” (Anderson 73). His words show that his mind has been twisted on the journey of chasing money. Daniel’s twisted mind also keeps everyone away from him. Daniel has no real friends, and even his son decides to leave him at the end. With capitalism, Daniel becomes extremely wealthy, but it is also easy to find he is not a happy person. Capitalism makes Daniel success, but also destroys him. Religion also shows its weakness. At the end of the screenplay, Eli comes to Daniel, because he wants to have business with Daniel. To embarrass Eli, Daniel has some “condition for this work” (Anderson 126): if Eli wants to make the business, he has to admire “[himself as] a false prophet, and God is a superstition” (Anderson 126). Finally, Eli accepts the Daniel’s condition because he wants the money. Eli betrays his faith for the money. This scene shows us how weak the religion is when there is a desire of money. The screenplay provides the audiences with different ways to think of the capitalism and religion, and it makes people introspect the capitalism and religion in the real world. In conclusion, this screenplay shows both the benefits and fault of the capitalism and religion. That makes the screenplay more rational, and that also makes the screenplay good.
In conclusion, the screenplay has a complex protagonist, and the setting of the screenplay represents the mental states of the characters well. Moreover, the screenplay shows both sides of capitalism and religion, and that makes the screenplay rational. All of those make There will be blood a good screenplay. With such a good screenplay, it is not a surprising thing for the movie gets 8 nominations in a month.
Anderson, Paul Thomas. There will be Blood. Final shooting script. July 2006.