There will be Oscars?
Starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Kevin J. O’Connor, and Dillon Freasier. Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. Based on the novel, “Oil,” by Upton Sinclair.
POTENTIAL SPOILER ALERT: You have been warned.
Daniel Day-Lewis is Daniel Plainview, a man obsessed with oil drilling. Obsessed. After one of his workers is killed, he adopts the worker’s son and continues forward with his operations. Within a few years he’s met by Paul Sunday, a kid who claims that there’s oil on the Sunday Farm in Little Boston. Plainview goes to check it out and indeed, there be oil. From there we watch the rise and fall of a ruthless oil magnate.
Albeit long, this movie was great; it was old-school filmmaking at its best. Daniel Day-Lewis channeled a bit of Bill the Butcher from “Gangs of New York,” to play Daniel Plainview. Plainview is a methodically mad protagonist; when you see him break his leg from falling in a shaft but still finds gold and pulls is out, managing to get out of the shaft and literally crawling to a place where he can sell the gold and lying on the floor with a splint on his leg while they figure how much it’s worth, you realize that this man is hardcore.
His “enemy” would be Paul/Ely Sunday. Paul is Ely, a fanatical preacher for the Church of the Third Revelation who seems to have an identity crises; the scared, innocent part of him is Paul, while the “appointed by God” part of him is Ely. And for most of the movie he’s Ely, claiming Paul to be a twin brother. Ely has his own methodical madness to match that of Plainview’s and both take turns doing something to the other.
And then there’s the adopted son H.W. We see him as a child left by a worker and slowly growing, learning everything about oil there is to know. When a mishap causes him to become deaf, Plainview puts him on a train and ships him away.
Also there’s the arrival of Daniel’s long-lost brother, played by Kevin J. O’Connor. Daniel trusts him more than he trusts others, but mainly to get close to him to find if he’s truly his real brother or not.
Oil aside, there was blood. I won’t tell you who got eliminated or why; ya gotta see it.
Overall I thought the film was great. Wide-angle and medium shots, the acting, the cinematography… while the subject matter may not have been the greatest in the world and there are those who aren’t on the boat with the “rise and fall/guy goes down in flames” sub-genre, this was one of those movies I walked away from going, “This movie makes up for all the bad movies I’ve recently watched.”