There Will Be Comics Posts… Uh, Soon…
I’ve been a little preoccupied with movies and the Twin Peaks boxed set of late, so Roy Thomas will have to wait just a little bit longer… In the meantime, I thought I might repost my contribution to this interesting discussion of Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest masterpiece over at Geoff Klock’s blog (I didn’t love the film nearly as much as Punch-Drunk Love–but believe me, that’s no criticism at all!)
I think [Klock-commenter] Erin’s dead on target here–and her evaluation of Plainview as a character may go some way toward explaining the genesis of the misleading trailers/expectations that Geoff speaks of… Actually, Plainview gives us most of what we need in that little speech he delivers (on the beach is it?), shortly before he kills Henry…
Daniel has “an envy” in him–he makes a competition with everyone he meets… in fact, he IS competition… the only people he can get along with are those he can conceive of as extensions of himself (his son; his “brother”–who, despite his seeming fitness as a companion, CANNOT be a friend; even the townspeople, as long as they’re workin’ on that oil problem)… this is why familial tropes are SO important to Daniel (i.e. always the main triggers of his rage–“don’t tell me how to raise my family”–“I’ll cut your throat”–not the most effective business-tone there; you’re not my brother so naturally I HAVE to kill you; you’re not working for me anymore, so you CANNOT be my son; Eli: you represent a puerile religion that I hate, and you’re making claims upon me based on ties of kinship? I have to kill YOU to!)
Of course–I DO have to disagree with Erin when she claims that Daniel is “real” (i.e. in the sense that he’s unpredictable/not an allegorical embodiment of anything), because, as I say, I interpret him as insanely consistent–the personification of competition from the beginning to the end (his tenderness–while certainly “real”–being the natural result of an intense self-love breaking beyond the limits of Daniel’s physical person)
But one thing that Geoff (as a Bloomean) should love is that one could argue that Daniel’s reading of the world as a competition is such a strong piece of misprision that he forces audiences, trailer-editors, and even PTA himself (if some of the interviews are to be believed) to imagine that there’s some kind of an apocalyptic duel going on in this movie, when, in sober hindsight, it becomes clear that NO ONE in There Will Be Blood constitutes any real threat to its protagonist.
A toute a l’heure, les amis!