Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Saved by the Colon

I've just seen Blood for Oil, the movie. I'm sorry, I meant There Will Be Blood. Revolving around "1911," it was extended confirmation of Hollywood's cherished fantasy that all big business (except, perhaps, movie-making) and all religion (except, perhaps, Scientology) are necessarily corrupt. Oscar? You can count on it. Why the cynicism? Guess you could say I caught it from the worldviews on offer in this years top films, and am just throwing back a little. Amidst such adulation, they can take it. Of course, much business and religion are corrupt, no argument there. But did I really need an oil tycoon didactically muttering "I hate people," and a minister publicly licking the arthritic fingers of an old lady to be so reminded? Of course I did.

Yes, the soundtrack was brilliant. But much depended upon Eli the screecher-preacher's acting, and hence much was lost. Eli was forgiven by critics, I suppose, because he was just one of many satellites orbiting in the solar system of which Daniel Day Lewis' acting was the blazing sun. I don't think it necessary to send up a spoiler alert flare to cite one line from the final scene, where the über-actor's character forces the preacher to say the twin propositions, "I am a false prophet," and "God is a superstition." (The less subtle equivalent to "I got here the same way the coin did" in No Country for Old Men.) What no one seems to realize is that the statements - together - are in no way problematic, granted one uses the proper punctuation. "I am a false prophet: God is a superstition."

Sibling premises to convey the same meaning would include, "I am not a false prophet: God is not a superstition," or better yet, "I am a true prophet: God is real."