This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Walter Andrade’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Now I can see that, with reason, there are so many people saying There Will be Blood is a masterpiece.
However, I'd like to start this simple review with a few words about myself. I've read a few reviews around. Some interesting, some empty and some filled with wishes to show great understanding and completely failing. This is the first time I'm watching it and I don't intend to discuss it as deeply as it deserves, but I'd like to present a little philosophic topic in which I believe, there is no observation without a observer (MORIN, Edgar. The Method I: The nature of the nature). Therefore, my interpretation of this film is bounded by this atheist, humanist, optimistic and quite amoral mind writing this words. These elements might explain why my interpretation is quite different than those I've read.
.1 The opposition between capitalism and religion.
At first, I don't think the paradox between religion and capitalism is presented by the relationship of Daniel and Eli. It does not makes sense to me since Eli is no worthy representation of religion although he might think he is; also, to see Daniel as capitalism is to fail down in an old cliché about storytelling. For me, a film that treats capitalism as a mad and poisoned entity in the XXI cen. is highly anachronistic. Daniel is, in my point of view, an exemplification of the absolute fear of loneliness and despair about the fugacity of life. He is ruthless in reaching his ambitions not because capitalism tells him to do so, but because he has nothing more to do, he needs to make his life useful and it could happen in a socialistic country as well. The capitalism, here, is more like a background very useful to depict the kingdom Daniel created to himself and in which he feels empty. Another detail that leads me to think this movie ain't no critic about politics is that H.W. also leaves to open his own company.
.2 The Christian morality
I also read that this movie carries a Christian morality but I think this might be a misinterpretation as well. This argument holds some powerful details in it's defence such as some names. (This argument was found here) For example, H.W., this weird name. It isn't, in fact, a name, it looks like an abbreviation for something we don't know what is, might be a reference to YHWH which, in Hebrew is the name of God itself. This same site, to prove that this reference is valid, says that the meaning of YHMH is "He is", therefore, the critic says that Daniel wants to reborn in his child. This might be so, but as far as I remember of my classes of Hebrew, the name YHWH comes from the question Moses made to God about His name, and god answered "I Am That I Am", and then "I Am" and finally YHWH. Also, this name, very popular in the Old Testament, is also target of critic because it's using this very name that God gives us his most egoistic speeches which leads me to understand that this son is the one who will stay adoring Daniel forever. There is also this another name, Abel. Eli's father. The reference to Abel/Caim story is obvious. Abel, in Bible, was a shepherd just as Mr. Abel Sunday, and everyone knows he was killed by his brother. Here, the last time we are able to see Mr. Sunday he is being hanged by his son. Also not by chance, Sunday is the day God rests. There are other biblical references here, but these ones are enough for me to explain my point. God, here, is not a lie, nor a superstition, he is simply away. Although the fire in the derrick might be seen actually as a punishment from God, how could it be if Daniel's desire to be rich becomes true exactly the way he wanted? Daniel's punishment does not comes from God, it comes from his inability to lend himself to another people.
.3 Daniel's relationship with his son
H.W. is the proof to the thesis that Daniel's fate is determined not by his egoism, but by his inability to understand people. This is probably why Daniel doesn't get married. Looking at the traditional meaning of Hero, H.W. is the hero of this history. The noble one, who tried a good relationship with his father until the end. However, one simply can't think Daniel does not loves H.W. H.W. is was the most important thing to Daniel's life. His desperate words: "I abandoned my boy! are true, he feels absolutely guilty for that although he tries to disguise it. H.W. was, at the beginning, another argument to make good deals, but differently from his derrick, H.W. has a heart, and he does not fears or leave his father, he always with him because he has no place to go, he stays where he thinks he belongs. H.W. is Daniel's salvation, his connection with humanity. Daniel proves that he needs that when Harry comes. Now that he has another human connection, Daniel will send H.W. to study in another city. As soon as Harry is no longer 'available', he calls for H.W. again. Daniel hold several similarities with Victor Mancini, Sam Rockwell's character in Choke.
.4 Eli's double personality
In this last topic I want to discuss, I don't think I can disagree with most of the people who think Eli and Paul are both the same. That last shot when Eli gets two drinks is makes it almost obvious. Also, Daniel's speech about how Paul won over Eli, in my opinion, in more idealistic than realistic. In his last moment, with his last human connection, Daniel had to prove he was the best, he needs to, his competitiveness tells him so, that's why he tries to put Eli down by saying that Daniel's way of life is better than Eli's. As far as we know, Daniel never met Paul again, how could he say something like that? Paul could be dead or anything. Also, not by chance, Paul and Eli's gesture is very, very alike.
That said, I'd like to thank you guys who made me watch this film. I'll probably watch it again for a better opinion, but it must be said, There Will be Blood depicts humanity marvellously and that's why it is a masterpiece.