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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Daniel, the designated "capitalist," is a greedy, calculating man whose disdain for others only grows more pronounced as the film proceeds; the "man of god" is also conniving and power-mad; at last, Daniel's son breaks away, though he does so by competing with his father in business, exactly what his father hates most.
Violence & Scariness
Early on, Daniel is injured in a mining accident (his leg is pierced by a tool, and there's some blood). Several oil drilling accidents, a couple with explosions and flames; two accidents kill workers (brief explosions, bodies shown) and one injures a young boy (his body is slammed and unconscious, and he's left deaf). An angry Daniel slaps and hits H.W. Eli attacks his father, trying to strangle him. Daniel attacks Eli, kicking and hitting him, dragging him into an oil pool. Murder committed by gunfire (no blood visible). Eli slaps Daniel hard and repeatedly during a baptism. A brutal, bloody murder is committed at the film's end.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Daniel and Henry visit a brothel -- kissing couples appear in the background.
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Language includes "hell," "damn," and "ass."
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Products & Purchases
Some thematic commercialism -- the film follows the building of an oil empire.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Daniel quiets infant H.W. by pouring whiskey into his bottle and, years later, gives him whiskey to make him sleep. Daniel drinks repeatedly, several times to the point of passing out; Henry drinks a few times as well. Daniel smokes cigarettes and a pipe, as do his right-hand man and several background characters.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that most teens probably won't be clamoring to see this slow-moving, somber drama about mature, sometimes abstract themes like capitalism and religion as driving forces in 19th- and early 20th-century America. Violence includes mining and oil well accidents (explosions, flames, a couple of deaths), several fights (hitting and kicking), and a shooting (abrupt and disturbing). The blood referenced in the title comes at the end of the movie, during a protracted, brutal struggle. Some drinking and smoking; language includes "hell" and damn." To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Set against the movie's stark landscape and brilliant orchestration by Jonny Greenwood, the conflict between Daniel and Eli turns simultaneously explosive and subterranean. They embody the forces that shape American culture -- specifically, capitalism and religion. Neither man is "complete," and each feels betrayed by someone introduced as his brother -- in Eli's case, his missing twin, and in Daniel's, the sudden appearance of Henry Brands (Kevin J. O'Connor), who shows up late in the film claiming to be Daniel's half-brother. Even as Daniel and Eli's plots go in different directions, both underline loss and pain that lead to bad decisions and violence.
Beyond the emotional sparks between Eli and Daniel, the film offers stunning visual compositions set against gorgeous desert and wide skies. Following an early oil rig accident, flames appear to leap behind a stoic Daniel as he gazes on his fortune -- one that will both make and ruin him. Subtle exchanges between father and son are built on shared glances that are at once knowing, intimate, and skeptical. This relationship is increasingly complicated, partly by H.W.'s friendship with Eli's sister, and partly by Daniel's increasing rage at the world. At the film's end, there is blood, sticky and odious -- but most effectively, there is also H.W., terrified, trusting, and enduring.
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Our Editors Recommend
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