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Visual arts >

Brimstone and black gold

by Stephen Brown

PAUL THOMAS ANDERSON seems to be fond of plagues in the films that he directs. There Will Be Blood (Cert. 12A) (loosely based on Upton Sinclair’s 1927 novel Oil!) takes its title from Exodus 7. In consequence of Egypt’s oppression, its elemental life force, the River Nile, is turned into blood. Moses’s prophetic imagination has offered Pharoah a radical alternative to his exploitative ways: why not let my people go? His plea is not heeded.

Anderson’s ...

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