There Will Be Blood: A Cinematic Exploration of Greed, Power, and Religion

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Prepare to immerse yourself in the gripping cinematic masterpiece, There Will Be Blood, a thought-provoking exploration of greed, power, and the complexities of human nature. As we delve into this cinematic marvel, we’ll dissect its intricate narrative structure, compelling characters, and profound themes.

This cinematic journey begins with Daniel Plainview, a ruthless oilman driven by an insatiable thirst for wealth. His path intertwines with Eli Sunday, a charismatic preacher who exploits religion for personal gain. As their ambitions collide, the film unfolds a riveting tale of manipulation, betrayal, and the corrosive effects of power.

Plot and Narrative Structure

There Will Be Bloodrevolves around the central conflict between Daniel Plainview, a ruthless oilman, and Eli Sunday, a charismatic preacher. As Plainview’s wealth and power grow, he becomes increasingly corrupted, while Sunday exploits his religious influence to manipulate the townsfolk.

Nonlinear Narrative Structure

The film employs a nonlinear narrative structure, interweaving flashbacks and flashforwards to gradually reveal the characters’ past and motivations. This fragmented storytelling technique heightens the sense of suspense and ambiguity, forcing viewers to piece together the events and characters’ relationships.

  • Flashback Structure:Flashbacks provide glimpses into Plainview’s troubled childhood and his formative experiences, shedding light on his manipulative and ambitious nature.
  • Flashforward Structure:Flashforwards foreshadow key events, such as Plainview’s murder of Sunday, creating a sense of foreboding and inevitability.

By using this nonlinear structure, the film challenges conventional storytelling and forces viewers to actively engage with the narrative, piecing together the fragments of the characters’ lives and the complex web of relationships that bind them.

Characters and Motivations

There will be blood

The film’s two central characters, Daniel Plainview and Eli Sunday, are driven by contrasting motivations that shape the narrative and create a compelling conflict.

Daniel Plainview is an oilman whose ruthless pursuit of wealth and power fuels his actions. He is a self-made man, having risen from poverty to become a successful businessman. However, his ambition has corrupted him, and he is willing to do whatever it takes to achieve his goals, including exploiting others and even resorting to violence.

Eli Sunday

Eli Sunday, on the other hand, is a charismatic preacher who preys on the fears and vulnerabilities of his congregation. He uses his position to manipulate people and amass wealth, exploiting their religious beliefs for his own personal gain. Unlike Plainview, Sunday is not motivated by material wealth but rather by the desire for power and influence over others.

The clash between Plainview’s greed and Sunday’s manipulative charisma drives the plot forward, creating a dynamic tension that keeps the audience engaged throughout the film.

Themes and Symbolism

There Will Be Bloodexplores a range of profound themes, including greed, power, and religion. These themes are conveyed through the use of potent symbolism and recurring motifs.

Greed is a central theme, symbolized by the oil industry and the relentless pursuit of wealth. The film depicts the destructive effects of greed on both individuals and society, as characters become consumed by their desire for material possessions.


Religion is another major theme, explored through the character of Eli Sunday. Sunday is a charismatic preacher who uses his influence to manipulate and control others. The film examines the dangers of religious extremism and the ways in which it can be exploited for personal gain.

Cinematography and Visual Style

There Will Be Blood‘s cinematography, led by Robert Elswit, is a masterpiece of visual storytelling. The film’s camera work, lighting, and color grading contribute significantly to its unsettling atmosphere and emotional impact.

Camera Work

  • The film is shot with a variety of camera techniques, including long takes, handheld shots, and extreme close-ups. These techniques create a sense of immediacy and intimacy, drawing the viewer into the characters’ world.
  • The film’s camera often lingers on faces, capturing the characters’ raw emotions and inner turmoil.
  • The use of wide-angle lenses and fisheye effects distorts the characters’ perspectives, creating a sense of unease and disorientation.


  • The film’s lighting is often dark and shadowy, with strong contrasts between light and dark. This creates a sense of mystery and foreboding.
  • The use of natural light, such as sunlight and firelight, gives the film a gritty and realistic look.
  • The film’s lighting also creates a sense of claustrophobia, as the characters are often confined to small, dark spaces.

Color Grading

  • The film’s color grading is muted and desaturated, giving it a cold and sterile look. This reinforces the film’s themes of alienation and isolation.
  • The use of warm colors, such as reds and oranges, is often associated with moments of violence and passion.
  • The film’s color grading also creates a sense of timelessness, as the characters’ world seems to exist outside of any specific era.

Sound Design and Music

The sound design of There Will Be Bloodis masterful in creating a tense and immersive experience for the viewer. The film’s sound effects are realistic and often startling, adding to the sense of danger and suspense.

The film’s music is also an important part of its sound design. The score is composed of a mix of classical and electronic music, and it helps to create a sense of unease and tension. The music often swells during moments of high drama, and it helps to amplify the emotional impact of the film.

In Paul Thomas Anderson’s “There Will Be Blood,” the ruthless pursuit of oil mirrors the celestial phenomenon known as the blood moon. Just as the moon appears crimson during an eclipse, so too does the land become a blood-soaked battleground for the oil barons.

The blood moon, a symbol of change and transformation, foreshadows the inevitable bloodshed that will result from the relentless exploitation of the earth’s resources.

Use of Silence

One of the most effective uses of sound design in There Will Be Bloodis the use of silence. The film often cuts to long stretches of silence, which can be incredibly effective in creating a sense of suspense and dread. These moments of silence are often broken by sudden bursts of sound, which can be even more startling.

Historical Context

There Will Be Blood is set against the backdrop of the oil boom in Southern California in the early 20th century. This period was characterized by a rapid increase in the demand for oil, which led to a surge in drilling and speculation.

The film “There Will Be Blood” vividly depicts the dark side of the oil industry. The protagonist’s relentless pursuit of wealth and power is paralleled by his disregard for human life and the environment. His greed and ambition ultimately lead to his downfall, as the consequences of his actions come back to haunt him.

Similarly, failing to monitor blood pressure can have dire consequences. A blood pressure chart can provide valuable insights into an individual’s cardiovascular health, helping them to make informed decisions about their lifestyle and treatment options.

The film reflects the social and economic conditions of the time, including the rise of capitalism and the growing gap between the rich and the poor. It also explores the themes of greed, ambition, and the corrupting power of wealth.

The Oil Boom

  • The oil boom in the early 20th century was driven by the increasing demand for oil, which was used to power cars, trains, and other machines.
  • The discovery of oil in California in 1892 led to a rush of prospectors and speculators to the state.
  • The oil boom created a new class of wealthy oil barons, who often used their wealth to control the political and economic landscape of California.

Critical Reception and Legacy: There Will Be Blood

Upon its release, There Will Be Bloodreceived widespread critical acclaim for its powerful performances, masterful direction, and thought-provoking themes.

The film’s critical success has only grown over time, with many critics and audiences considering it to be one of the greatest films of the 21st century. It has been praised for its complex characters, stunning cinematography, and its exploration of the dark side of human nature.

The phrase “there will be blood” in the 2007 film suggests a violent confrontation. In contrast, “blue bloods” refers to blue bloods , a term used to describe European nobility. Interestingly, the blue bloods were believed to have paler skin and more visible veins, giving them a bluish appearance.

This contrasts with the bloody violence depicted in “there will be blood,” highlighting the contrasting themes of aristocracy and bloodshed.

Academy Awards

There Will Be Bloodwas nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor (Daniel Day-Lewis). It won two awards, for Best Actor and Best Cinematography.

Box Office Performance, There will be blood

The film was also a commercial success, grossing over $76 million worldwide against a production budget of $25 million.

Cultural Impact

There Will Be Bloodhas had a lasting impact on popular culture. It has been referenced in numerous films, television shows, and music videos. The film’s iconic line, “I drink your milkshake!”, has become a popular catchphrase.

Cinematographic Techniques

There Will Be Blood employs a variety of cinematographic techniques to create a visually stunning and immersive experience. These techniques include:

Framing and Composition

  • Tight framing:Used to create a sense of intimacy and claustrophobia, particularly during intense scenes.
  • Wide shots:Emphasize the vastness of the oil fields and the isolation of the characters.
  • Asymmetrical compositions:Create a sense of unease and tension, reflecting the characters’ inner turmoil.

Camera Movement

  • Steadicam shots:Provide a smooth, flowing perspective, creating a sense of realism and immersion.
  • Handheld shots:Used during moments of chaos and instability, conveying the characters’ emotional turmoil.
  • Tracking shots:Follow characters through the environment, highlighting their journey and interactions.


  • Natural light:Used extensively to create a sense of authenticity and realism.
  • Chiaroscuro lighting:Creates dramatic contrasts between light and shadow, highlighting the characters’ inner struggles.
  • Selective focus:Draws attention to specific elements of the frame, guiding the viewer’s focus.


  • Earth tones:Dominate the film, reflecting the harsh and unforgiving landscape of the oil fields.
  • Contrasting colors:Used to create visual tension and highlight the characters’ conflicts.
  • Red:Symbolizes blood, violence, and the destructive nature of greed.

Character Relationships

The complex relationships between the main characters in “There Will Be Blood” drive the narrative and shape their motivations and actions.

Daniel Plainview and Eli Sunday

  • Antagonistic relationship driven by greed, ambition, and religious differences.
  • Initially engage in a mutually beneficial partnership, but their rivalry intensifies as they clash over oil rights and power.
  • Plainview’s ruthless tactics and Sunday’s religious fervor fuel their escalating conflict, leading to a climactic confrontation.

Daniel Plainview and H.W.

  • Father-son relationship marked by manipulation, neglect, and emotional abuse.
  • Plainview exploits H.W.’s vulnerability and innocence to further his own agenda.
  • H.W.’s resentment and desire for independence culminate in a tragic confrontation that reveals the depth of Plainview’s selfishness.

Daniel Plainview and Paul Sunday

  • Unlikely alliance between Plainview and Eli Sunday’s son.
  • Paul’s naivety and desire for recognition are exploited by Plainview, who manipulates him to gain control over Sunday’s oil fields.
  • Paul’s eventual disillusionment and betrayal of Plainview serve as a catalyst for the film’s climax.

Last Point

There Will Be Blood stands as a cinematic triumph, leaving an indelible mark on the film industry. Its unflinching portrayal of human nature, coupled with its masterful cinematography and evocative score, has cemented its status as a modern classic. The film continues to captivate audiences, prompting profound reflection on the complexities of the human condition.

FAQ Insights

What is the central conflict in There Will Be Blood?

The central conflict revolves around the clash between Daniel Plainview’s relentless pursuit of wealth and Eli Sunday’s exploitation of religion for personal gain.

How does the film’s nonlinear narrative structure impact the storytelling?

The nonlinear structure adds depth and complexity to the narrative, allowing for a deeper exploration of the characters’ motivations and the consequences of their actions.

What are some of the major themes explored in the film?

The film delves into themes such as greed, power, religion, and the corrosive effects of ambition on the human soul.