Randian Scene of the Year in There Will Be Blood
By Bryan Caplan
Set-up: Daniel Plainview, the atheist oilman played by Daniel Day-Lewis, needs one last piece of land to build his pipe-line. But the owner is a holdout – he’ll only sell if the atheist oilman agrees to get baptized in the church of the faith-healer he despises.
The scene: Plainview tries to escape with lip-service at the baptism, but the faith-healer won’t here of it. He keeps demanding more. Plainview goes along at first, and finally breaks down, confessing his sins at the top of his lungs: “I abandoned my child! I abandoned my child! I abandoned my child!” (As one critic wrote, “[I]t’s a pleasure to be reminded, if only once every four years, that subtlety can be overrated.”)