Heaven & Hell In "There Will Be Blood"

Paul Thomas Anderson's "There Will Be Blood" is by far one of the finest films of this decade. The obvious religious sub-plot and biblical references were brilliant but it was the visual allusions of heaven and hell that gave me goose bumps. When Daniel Plainview's team strikes oil on the Sunday family farm all instantly goes bad as the gushing oil catches fire and even the camera is afraid is it slowly pans out revealing an apocalyptic night landscape illuminated by fire and flame erupting from the depths of hell as we are left with a commentary on the imminent evil effects oil will have on our society. The next morning Eli the Sunday family preacher marches towards Daniel Plainview to demand his money, his reward for selling his soul to the devil. This scene is introduced as the camera itself is stuck in the mud and oil, motionless, as it focuses down on a reflection of clouds and blue sky in a pool of dark oil, a metaphor of an idealistic and, ultimately, failed road to heaven, the result of man's greed and sin, as we look down to look up.

There are not many films I would see twice in the theatre, but this is one I surely will go to again. What a relevant and thought provoking commentary on the history of a wide array of issues all closely linked to the downfall of man. In all seriousness, I would love to see a film made with the same brilliance of "There Will Be Blood" about Eli Whitney and the cotton gin that simultaneously alludes to the birth of the American industrial revolution and examines how one simple device would divide a nation for centuries to come. Ahhh, America.