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Ladri di Biciclette and There will be Blood Character Analysis Ladri di Biciclette takes place in 1948 post-World War II Rome and is considered one of the best works of Italian Neorealism. There will be Blood is an American drama film set in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. It is considered one of the best films ever created. Despite their many differences, these two films share plenty of common ground. The theme of these two powerfully inspiring movies is that of a broken relationship between a father and a son.
Ladri di Biciclette is one of the few films that do not follow the hero cycle. At no point in the plot does Antonio Ricci, played by Lamberto Maggiorani, ever redeem himself. Instead, he plummets down to the shocking level of stealing another’s bicycle. It is at this point in the story line Bruno, his son played my Enzo Staiola, will forever see his father differently. When Antonio slaps Bruno, Bruno’s world changes drastically. He has never been treated so harshly like this by his father, someone he loves and trusts dearly. This is the first time his perfect image of his dad is shattered. Even though Antonio is put in multiple moral situations, he truly loves and cares for his son. For example, when he hears the cries of a little boy drowning he rushes over to the commotion worried the little boy is Bruno. Fortunately, the boy is not Bruno and he picks up his son in a tight embrace. There are some moments in the film where Antonio forgets his son is with him.
For instance, when he spies the thief he will run after him not thinking of his son and whether or not he will get lost trying to keep up in the chase. Still, he will look down to his son and ask if he is tired or hungry. Then he accommodates to the little boy’s needs. Antonio is trying to provide the best life possible for his family even if it meant doing something morally incriminating. Although his father has treat him wrong a few times, Bruno knows how stressful of a situation his father is in and tries to keep his dad in good spirits. In the last scene Antonio has a blank stare and is fighting the urge to cry. Bruno, watching his father, takes his hand. As Antonio looks at Bruno, the camera watches as they disappear into the crowd. They know that the bicycle will never be found, and the defeat can clearly be seen in Antonio’s blank stare. In There will be Blood Daniel Plainview, brilliantly acted by Daniel Day-Lewis, adopts one of his deceased worker’s orphaned son, played by Dillon Freasier.
Plainview names his son H.W. and he becomes Plainview’s business “partner”. Later, his son loses his hearing in a drilling accident. Daniel boards a train with his boy and gets up, not looking back as he abandons the train and his child. Daniel doesn’t really feel a loss when sending his son away since the kid is not blood related. He feels H.W. does not have any of his qualities or personality. He eventually reunites with his son, who has now steadily built resentment for his father. H.W.’s teacher and interpreter becomes his new father figure in life as he and Daniel drift apart with his taking to be a drunkard and his more aggressive behavior. In one of the last scenes H.W., played by Russell Harvard) has married his childhood sweetheart and is visiting his now wealthy father to discuss ending their partnership and starting his own oil company in Mexico.
Daniel mocks his son and tells H.W. that he is an orphan by saying, “You’re an orphan from a basket in the middle of the desert. And I took you for no other reason than I needed a sweet face to buy land. Did you get that? Now you know. Look at me. You’re lower than a bastard. You have none of me in you. You’re just a bastard from a basket.” H.W. leaves his father with no regrets and tells his “father” he is glad he doesn’t have any of Daniel in himself. Clearly these two have had relationship problems from the beginning. H.W. loved and idolized Daniel Plainview, even though the love was usually not returned. His deep interest for oil drilling started and grew all because of Daniel, and for that reason he was grateful and still loved his father, Plainview. Plainview only cared about money and power, so when his son lost hearing, due to the explosion at the oil site, he simply thought of the money he would make not about the well being of his only child.
When he leaves his child to help with the fire, H.W. for the first time is lost, confounded, scared, and feels betrayed as his father lets go of him, leaving him in the dark with unanswered questions. Daniel Plainview never realizes that even though H.W. is not blood related he still raised, cared, and provided for this “bastard from a basket”. In both films the two father figures struggle with the yearning for power, money, social gain, and their ambition. Antonio cannot stop thinking of the money he would make if his bicycle is found. He thinks of the different life style he and his family would get to live with the salary he would be making. Anderson, the director of There will be Blood, was inspired by the fact that Sierra Madre is “about greed and ambition and paranoia and looking at the worst parts of yourself”.
All of those traits can easily be found in Daniel Plainview. Daniel even admits to his half brother’s imposter that he has this hatred and competition in himself. The character Daniel Plainview shows the savagery and obsession in humanity by draining the land of its natural resources for power and wealth. There will be Blood not only addresses the broken father son relationship but also the dark heart of free enterprise. It displays the inner workings of capitalism and how not only gain but domination is the ultimate goal in this grand scheme called politics. These two films are great influences in not only the film industry but also give great messages about life. Neither of the films follow the hero cycle and the fathers never redeem themselves. This adds to the magnitude of these pieces of art for the reason that it makes them unique and sets them apart from other great works of art in film.