THERE WILL BE BLOOD
Worst Anti-Christian Stereotype of the Year
Release Date: December 26, 2007
Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano,
Dillon Freasier, Ciaran Hinds,
Kevin J. O’Connor, and
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Distributor: Paramount Vantage
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Executive Producer: Scott Rudin, Eric Schlosser
and David Williams
Producer: Paul Thomas Anderson, Joanne
Sellar and Daniel Lupi
Writer: Paul Thomas Anderson
Address Comments To:Sumner Redstone, Chairman/CEO
John Lesher, President
Paramount Vantage (aka Paramount Classics)
A Division of Paramount Pictures
5555 Melrose Avenue, Chevalier Building
Los Angeles, CA 90038
Phone: (323) 956-2000
Fax: (323) 862-1212
Based loosely on a novel by progressive writer Upton Sinclair, the movie opens in 1898 Arizona where a struggling silver miner strikes oil in the desert. His partner dies in the attempt, however, leaving Daniel with his infant son, H.W.
Several years later, in 1911, Daniel gets a mysterious tip that there’s a town in the California desert with oil oozing out of the ground. Daniel buys some land from Mr. Sunday, but Sunday’s baby-faced son, Eli, who heads a Pentecostal church, extracts a vague promise of $5,000 for Eli’s church. Daniel buys up more of the land, but refuses Eli’s request to lead a prayer over the first well. In fact, Daniel himself says the prayer. To make matters worse, Daniel never gives the $5,000 to Eli’s church and publicly beats up and humiliates Eli when Eli makes a pest of himself.
(SPOILERS) An accident at the well causes H.W. to lose his hearing, and Daniel cruelly ships him off to a deaf school far away. Daniel also has trouble when a man claiming to be his brother turns out to be a liar who stole his brother’s identity. Daniel secretly murders the man one night in the wilderness, but one of Eli’s supporters discovers Daniel sleeping next to the buried body. Eli forces Daniel to participate in a humiliating baptism ritual and finally gets the $5,000 from Daniel.
Eventually, Eli and Daniel’s pride, greed and animosity poisons their spiritual and economic lives and causes further problems between Daniel and his own son.
The realistic, gritty atmosphere created by screenwriter/director Paul Thomas Anderson and actor Daniel Day-Lewis as Daniel Plainview is tremendous. It is practically ruined, however, by Anderson’s evil caricature of Eli, the revenge-minded preacher, and the over-the-top, unrealistic performance of Paul Dano as Eli. In fact, THERE WILL BE BLOOD is one of the most mean-spirited, anti-Christian, superficial, and poorly played portrayals of religion ever created in movie history. God knows there have been plenty of insincere, sinful leaders in the Christian church, but there have also been many good Christians who have exposed and opposed such false leaders. The short length of most feature films often require stereotypes, even negative ones, to tell a good story, but when they are so mean-spirited, superficial and poorly played as this one is, they appeal only to narrow-minded bigots with an ax to grind, whose mental faculties and hearts have been poisoned by their sinful misanthropic prejudice.
THERE WILL BE BLOOD is not solely about religion, but it is one of the most anti-Christian movies of the year. That is abhorrent, not only because it is a vicious, mindless attack on Jesus Christ and those who follow Him, but also because Daniel Day-Lewis gives one of the year’s best performances. Not helping matters is Paul Dano’s shallow, unbelievable performance as the despicable preacher, Eli.