The Ending of “Blood”

In class we finally watched the ending of “There Will Be Blood” and afterwards I read the continuation of Christopher Orr’s review, available at this link. Orr urges readers to watch the movie for themselves first, warning them of a potential spoiler. I think his review does the movie justice: it is carefully researched, intelligent and insightful in its commentary. At the same time, there is something very personal in it, as Orr puts forth his own expectations of the movie that were supported only midway, and were finally betrayed by the ending.

I found the ending, like Orr, to be abrupt and unnecessarily violent. Whatever the director’s aim was, he could have done it less literally and more eloquently and symbolically, after all. However, I found the comments under the review equally as thought provoking and engaging as Orr’s arguments. Other readers have put forth their own interpretations of the ending, and defended director P.T. Anderson’s choices.

In order for me to really grasp the historical significance and directing ambition of the film, I would need to watch it multiple times. I agree with Orr to an extent, because the film didn’t offer a concrete, neat solution that would tie up all the loose ends. It leaves questions such as, was there really a Paul, and if so did Daniel really pay him in full? Was Eli altogether a false prophet, or did he get lost along the way? Had Daniel ever truly had a chance for redemption? Had Daniel completely lost his mind at the end of the movie in one act of violent rage, or did Eli get what he deserve, in his eyes? And the most important one of all, is there blood always where there is money?

Still, I also agree with some of the comments below the review. Not every movie works as a nice, solved jigsaw puzzle, and perhaps the confusing ending is just what this particular film needs. The reader is kept from knowing the truth, and perhaps no one will ever really know, even the director. At the same time, if he ended the movie even earlier would we still get the same effect?

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