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3.7 out of 5 stars263
3.7 out of 5 stars
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I can see this being a Marmite film but I really enjoyed it. It has a classic clash between Mammon and God; and the ability of a man to use rage to build something great and then to find the cost of that building. Based on a novel by that great teller of social tales - Upton Sinclair - the plot is tight if depressing and the location and camera work at times brutal and at others lyrical. Day-Lewis is a hard act to go up against but the preacher Paul Dano makes a game fight in rounds five to eight. There is no happy ending and not a great deal of violence but there is a lot of passion.
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on 12 April 2012
There's your review, now go see in my honest opinion THE best performance of all time in cinema history. A pretty bold statement, but my goodness, the fearless acting in this superb movie is unmatched. I've never seen anything like it and I consider myself a movie buff who've seen quite a damn lot in my 40-odd years on this planet.
Yes, Bobby de Niro in Taxi Driver, Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, there are many brilliant performances out there, but this is positively acting of a satanic calibre.
The definite peak of his astonishing career (until now). He's like a king cobra who hypnotises the audience, you can't take your eyes off him.
The movie itself, by Paul Thomas Anderson, is undeniably awesome itself and goes places other movies won't even dare. The totally bonkers ending, which feels somewhat seperate in tone from the rest of the movie, and not everyone will like, blew me away and raised goosebumps on my goosebumps. Paul Dano does pretty darn well against the sound and fury of Lewis's presence and acts as counterpoint to his insanity.
To me personally, no matter in what category video outlets place the cover box, this is a HORROR movie, something Anderson possibly alludes to with the opening snatch of music before the mostly dialogue-less beginning which definitely sounds like it belongs in one.
A horror movie inspires horror and dread in a viewer, and my goodness, this movie does, in spades. No monsters, creatures, serial-killers or supernatural shenanigans, just good ol' nasty capitalism and greed personified by Daniel Day-Lewis who, in my interpretation, is playing the Devil himself.
A bona-fide masterpiece!
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on 21 July 2012
There have been many peaks, and a few troughs, in Daniel Day Lewis's career, but his portrayal of an intense, brooding cow-eyed oil prospector at the turn of the last century must rank as one of his finest. For three hours, he holds our attention through a complex tale of fatherhood, religion, greed and obsession. His lack of lust is a strange counterfoil to the deep passions he shows in other areas of his life - his protectiveness towards children, his loathing of religious hypocrisy, and his yearning for a real family. His inability to adapt to the changing world brought about by industrialistion, and his bitterness at the betrayals in his life, lead to his inevitable and painful ruin. Alcohol plays a part in this downfall, of course, but it is his fondness for milkshakes that this viewer will remember him by ...
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Written, directed and co-produced by Paul Thomas Anderson (Magnolia,Boogie Nights) this is loosely based on the 1927 Upton Sinclair novel entitled Oil! and was nominated for Best Film at the 2008 Academy Awards. It tells the story of a silver-miner-turned-oil-man on a ruthless quest for wealth during Southern California's oil boom of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The only leading characters of note are Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Dano.

When Day-Lewis acts like this it's sometimes distracting because he is, of course, so very good at playing larger-than-life characters. Although this is effectively a biopic of a rather repellent oil prospector, therefore the lead character can make or break the film, in this case Day-Lewis almost IS the film. Take him out of it and you're left with a mildly interesting history lesson of the rough and dangerous early years of oil drilling in the USA. But turn it inside out and put the background story to one side instead, you have a remarkable study of a man so consumed by his hatred of everyone and everything (and probably himself too) that it makes for almost uncomfortable viewing, making you want to turn away in disgust while being glued to the screen at all times. It's no wonder that he collected an Oscar as Best Leading Actor; when he's in this kind of form he is king, there is no-one to compare him with. From an early stage it becomes clear that Daniel Plainview is on a self-destruct mission, whether he is conscious of that or not is open to debate but there is really very little about him to like, or even respect. But this is a gradual process from the viewer's perspective; for the first half-hour or so I experienced conflicting feelings for the character and some of those were positive. All credit to the director, therefore, for conducting such an excellent character portrayal spread over nearly thirty years such that we see a gradual decline from single-minded businessman to lonely multi-millionaire in such a way that as his success builds, so too does our dislike for him. And it's not just his ways of doing business that warrant such low regard, it's also some of the abhorrent ways he treats what little family he has, notably his young son.

One of the central themes to the story is the conflict between Plainview and The Church of the Third Revelation, founded by Eli Sunday (Paul Dano). There are some dramatic confrontations throughout largely fuelled by Plainview's devoutly atheistic attitude, while many in the small communities in which he wants to drill for oil are simple, God-fearing people.

While the film as a whole could be described as a cinematic epic (rather an over-used term, I know) the final fifteen minutes of so have a contrastingly theatrical, on-stage feel, and although it won't mean anything unless you have actually seen this film, the final two words are probably the most ironic and memorable of any film I have ever seen - most other actors couldn't have gotten away with it without making it seem funny, but Day-Lewis is in a different league.

In the end it's a film to admire rather than pleasantly enjoy, but nevertheless one that will linger in the memory.
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on 28 September 2013
Fantastic movie. Daniel Day Lewis is outstanding. Would recommend this movie to anyone. Great story line and good support cast
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on 9 March 2011
Fortunately I received the 2 disc edition as a present, otherwise I would have appreciated reading this first, since the 2 disc edition is still currently more expensive. It is a great film, but you do not get any insights into the making of the film whatsoever from the "bonus disc"

The second disc itself is only 1/2 hour long. Fifteen minutes is made up of a series of old photographs and film footage set to music. The rest consists of two trailers (why watch a trailer when you have seen the film?) and about 3 deleted scenes. There is also an old silent movie reel documentary about petroleum.

No directors commentary, no "making of", no insights into the actors, characters, sets, script. This was merely the studio stuffing a few spare feet of film onto the DVD in order to sell a 2 disc edition. Disappointing and taking advantage of the very fans who make the film a success.
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on 27 January 2009
I'll start by saying that this is definitely not the most exciting film ever made, this film is essentially about the rise to power of an oil baron and follows the events of his life and while this is quite interesting it's not what you'd call exciting.
However the cinematography in this film is outstanding, visually arresting from beginning to end. It is fantastically well-scripted and the acting is mind-blowing, not just from Daniel Day-Lewis either.
This film, also, finishes brilliantly.
I would recommend this film to anyone who has a fondness for visual flair over cheap thrills.
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on 22 June 2013
A stunning portrayal of ruthless ambition.

They don't get much more menacing than this. Daniel Day Lewis really shows us the depths of his method acting talent as the evil Daniel Plainview, a soft spoken but extremely dangerous man who openly admits that he cannot tolerate the thought of anyone getting further than him. Indeed, his competitiveness is so extreme he'll stop at nothing to satisfy it - even murder .....

The tense rivalry between Plainview and the preacher of New Boston crackles. Plainview's relationship with the boy he 'adopts' as his son is moving and his final rejection of the young man is shocking. The atmosphere is electrifying. Day Lewis tapped so deeply into the dark side of himself that he makes Plainview terrifying to look at and his nature equally hard to deal with.

This is an incredible film. I couldn't tear myself away. Day Lewis earned his Oscar for this one.
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on 24 January 2013
One thing that should be said is that, Daniel-Day Lewis, as always, is utterly brilliant. If you don't fully enjoy the film then you will at least witness a great modern actor performing brilliantly.

However, that aside, the films is a real cinematic joy. Great acting from Dano and Lewis, great scenic shots and more importantly, the story really draws you in.

At 2 and a half hours however, it may be too 'plodding' for some people. The characters develop with a real subtly, yet if you don't think you can maintain interest in a slow-burner to appreciete such development, then it probably isn't worth your time.

There's a quiet dignity about the film with some real tense moments when the characters collide. I really enjoyed the film, however if you don't enjoy slower, more character driven films, stay well away.
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on 17 January 2013
So the film is simply astounding. Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Dano give amazing performances, perhaps the best of their lives. The cinematography and directing are equally as good, Paul Thomas Anderson definitely being one of the best directors of the times. I won't say much more on the film, just know that it is one you must see.
The DVD unfortunately is a bit of a let down, especially for some. The only extra is a 10-15 minute video showing various vintage photo's and documents used as reference for the film with some of the films score to accompany it. For me, as I guess it would be for some others, it was pretty interesting and served as a good companion to the film but for others I can imagine it would be a bit of a bore.
Even with the lack of extras this should still be top of your list for purchases.
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