Monday, January 7, 2008

Monday Night Monolgue: If I say I'm an oil man

Oh how I love There Will Be Blood. I really, really wanted to do the monologue from the end of the movie which is an absolute tear the house down brilliant (or maybe just insane) bit of writing, directing and acting. But spoiling it would be a lousy thing to do to those of you who haven't had the privilege of seeing it. Instead I will present Daniel Plainview's (Daniel Day-Lewis) opening monologue from the start of the film. Well, I suppose "start" is a bit of a misnomer as what I will present here actually takes place eight pages into the script (roughly ten minutes of screen-time). It's the first time we hear anyone speak in the film and it's pretty remarkable. In these first ten minutes we've been watching Plainview work a derrick and earn his keep by the sweat of his brow. We've also seen a lot of death due to negligence. Years pass and Plainview goes from dirty, sweaty working man to savvy businessman all without a word. In a rare moment of decency (incredibly...incredibly rare for this film) Plainview inspects his new child H.W. while riding on a train. As the two ride in quiet we begin to hear this evening's monologue as it slowwww dissolves to the intent face of Daniel Day-Lewis.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I’ve traveled over half our state to get here this evening. I couldn’t get away sooner because my new well was coming in at Coyote Hills and I had to see about it. That well is now flowing at two thousand barrels and it’s paying me an income of five thousand dollars a week. I have two others drilling and I have sixteen producing at Antelope.
So - Ladies and Gentlemen - if I say I’m an oil, man you will agree. (beat) You have a great chance here – but bear in mind: you can loose it all if you’re not careful. Out of all men that beg for a chance to drill your lots, maybe one in twenty will be oil men; the rest will be speculators – men trying to get between you and the oil men – to get some of the money that by rights come to you. Even if you find one that has money, and means to drill, he’ll maybe know nothing about drilling and he’ll have to hire out the job on contract – and then you’re depending on a contractor that’s tryin’ to rush the job through – so he can get another contract just as quick as he can. This is the way that this works.

An OC VOICE INTERUPTS, LOUDLY; Daniel holds his composure.

What is your offer? We’re wasting time.

I do my own drilling and then men that work for me, work for me and they are men I know. I make it my business to be there and see to their work. I don’t lose my tools in the hole and spend months fishing for them; I don’t botch the cementing off and let water in the hole and ruin the whole lease

REVEAL, AT THAT MOMENT, young H.W. (age 7) He is standing behind Daniel and looking at the group OC. Daniel and H.W.;

I’m fixed like no other company in this field and that’s because my Coyote Hills well has just come in – I have a string of tools all ready to put to work…I can load a rig onto trucks and have them here in a week. I have business connections so I can get the lumber for the derrick – such things go by friendship in a rush like this. And this is why I can guarantee to start drilling and put up the cash to back my word. I assure you, whatever the others promise to do, when it comes to the showdown they won’t be there.

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