This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Silent J’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Daniel Plainview has a God Complex.
If I'm not mistaken, Daniel in Hebrew means "God is my judge". By the end of the film, like all of us who believe in Him, Daniel is judged by God and punished internally for his sinful acts, but at the same time one can say that Daniel sees himself as a judging God. His God Complex further comes to light in the end of the film, especially as he is shouting "I am the church of the third revalation." It's easy to say that he says this simply to spite Eli, but I think this can be interpreted also in one or two other ways...one is that he finally sees himself as a godlike figure that deserves respect...or he says it because he has tried to hide his God Complex throughout the film, but as a broken man he just does'nt care anymore. He's always seen himself as God, or at least a god, but in the end he becomes a spiteful, vengeful God. He feels betrayed by those who followed him, specifically his son, and instead of turning the other cheek and walking away, he "smites" the first sinner he sees. Eli says himself "...I have sinned. I need help. I am a sinner..." so maybe Plainview sees this sinner as an easy target not only because he has judged Eli almost like a watchful God for so long, but as a sinner, he wishes to bring Eli down to his level. He no longer pity's him so he decides to crush him internally (...say you are a false prophet and God is a superstition) and literally (crushes his head with a bowling pin.
Another small detail that demonstrates this God Complex is his last name Plainview which basically can mean he has a "plain view" of the world. It's either his way or the highway; or better yet no way.He has complete cnfidence in his own words and therefore believes that anyone else's words mean nothing. Remember when he says "...If I say I'm an oil man, you WILL agree..." The average human being would say something like "you might agree" but Daniel gives these people no other choice but to aceept it. The fact that it comes from his mouth makes it so and from anyone else sounds like blasphemy. He is right and everyone else in wrong. He does'nt like to be commanded or told what to do. There is a point he tells the realtor (sorry, his name escapes me right now) that he should never tell him what he's going to do and if he does, he will cut his throat while he's sleeping. Daniel sees himself as a commanding God and anyone who does'nt follow him, disobey's him, or does'nt agree with his beliefs shall pay the price almost as if he is God and anyone who refuses to accept his beliefs shall fall like Lucifer. One can also say that Daniel does'nt have this godlike state until he becomes successful. For the first 20 minutes there is silence. No dialogue as if no one has anything to say. Maybe that's because if anyone like Daniel said anything, no one will listen because he has'nt yet established himself as this towering figure until he strikes oil. Once he does, everyone silently listens as he delivers his monologue, which can refer to the biblical opening “God spoke, and the earth listened.”
The story is of biblical proportions. Not just with Daniel as a holy figure but if you delve deeper than that, even more can be found. In the end, after Daniel sits in a pool of Eli's blood, one can say that he says "I'm finished" because he believes that has atoned for his sins with Eli's blood. He is finished with his atonement. When H.W. is injured, Daniel gives him up; sacrificing him to God knows who (Daniel knows; reinforcing that God complex) and then in the end when H.W. decides to leave the business as well as his father, Daniel has no other choice but to sacrifice his son forever; which fuels his rage because for one of the only times in the film, he is not in control of others actions. He does'nt want H.W. to leave, but H.W. insists on it. Since he can't stop him and this happens out of his control and his order (again; God complex) he denounces H. W. as a son stating he's nothing but a bastard from a basket.
Much about the Sunday brothers Eli and Paul have been constructed and broken down for years but here's how I see it...while it is probably true that Eli and Paul are the same person, the two represented two very important themes of the film...Paul represents capitalism and Eli represents religion. When Daniel says in the end "You're not the chosen brother, Eli. It was Paul who was chosen." this can mean that he has chosen capitalism over religion. Eli says He's completely failed to alert me to the recent panic in our economy and this! I must have this! I've invested... my investments have..." capitalism has conquered religion by crushing the spirit of a spiritual figure. Plainview tells Eli that he paid Paul ten thousand dollars and he is now a prosperous businessman. This can mean that Daniel believes his own business would be more successful if he ignores religion, in fact decimate it (killing Eli in the process) and give into captilasm. Give into his greed. As Gordon Gecko said, "Greed, for lack of a better word, is good." At that moment, Daniel realizes that greed may in fact be a good thing and even money can destroy a holy man in the wrong hands. He believes he has the right hands to handle his income and finally succumbs to this greed but he cannot truly do so until he obliteates religion from his life.
Of course, none of this is set in stone. I apologize if I've done such a poor job of explaining my thoughts. Hell, this is only my third watch so I could be way off. This is all just how I perceive it. Also, I could go on but a lot that I've figured out Adam Cook already explained extremely well in his review. If you have'nt read it, read it now ( letterboxd.com/lordcookie/film/there-will-be-blood/ ) Helluva read; way better constructed and explained than this one I'll admit. If you've read this far, again, this is just my opinion. Not facts. I would love to hear your thoughts on such an incredibly well layered epic film.