Music in Movies: There Will Be Blood

Welcome to Music in Movies one of Thursday’s new featured articles, where we talk about scores and soundtracks in film. I am Luis and I have a certain love for both music and film. I hope you enjoy this first article on one of my favorite films.  Enjoy!

“I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE!” A famous quote from the film hailed as one of the greatest of the past decade. Paul Thomas Anderson, an emerging and talented director, filmed There Will Be Blood, his 5th film, to his already impressive filmography in 2007. This drama made a landmark on 21st-century movies with its superb acting, especially from Daniel Day-Lewis, mind-numbing scenes, and portrayal of human greed. However, there is one aspect that sticks out even from the very beginning of the film: the music. Johnny Greenwood, guitarist of the renowned English band Radiohead, took on the task of composing and arranging a soundtrack, and he did it perfectly.

The movie opens up with “Henry Plainview.” It starts off with the strings of an orchestra playing a chord that sets an unsettling mood on the listener, almost uneasy and cautionary. As it crescendos, it takes you in a world with the feeling of an ominous and brooding object approaching. It almost wants you to shift around in your seat, and just like how soon the crescendo was, it quickly decrescendos. This piece is used as the camera shifts its focus from the open, barren desert to the main character, Daniel Plainview. Then other instruments enters as they begin to have decrescendos left to right, letting you know that nothing good is going to happen. Finally, before you even notice, like how the piece began, it fades away, as if into the desert wind.

Another important scene is when Daniel Plainview finally strikes a goldmine-worth of oil. A geyser of oil shoots up high into the blue sky; it then catches on fire turning the once beautiful sky dark. It truly is a sight, embodying power, greed, and pride. The song that plays along is “Convergence.” Starting with a few clicks and clacks, it transform into a cacophony of banging, tapping, ringing, clicking, and clacking. Something that could describe it would be an array of pots and pans caught in a hurricane. It progresses into full chaos, resembling like no other song you have heard before.  This structure-less piece completely represents the chaos of the workers scrambling around, doing what they can to pacify the oil well fire. However, Daniel bathes himself in this chaos, in the oil that splatters across the desert. He finally struck the black gold. He realizes the wealth and power that this hellfire is promising to him. He stares, almost venerating at the fire, forgetting everything else that was once important to him, even his own son. To make it even better, the song “Convergence” seamlessly captures the mood, impact, and significance of the scene.

The soundtrack of the film does what most other soundtracks cannot; it does not accompany the film, but rather, it manifests itself into one of the important factor that makes movie so well done. The aura of the film cannot be carried over to the viewer completely without the music. If you have not listened to this soundtrack, you definitely should, and if you have not seen the movie, make sure you do, for it will be a movie experience like no other.

Thank you for reading. Any comments are appreciated, so post some below !


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