A story of family, religion, hatred, oil and madness, focusing on a turn-of-the-century prospector in the early days of the business.A story of family, religion, hatred, oil and madness, focusing on a turn-of-the-century prospector in the early days of the business.A story of family, religion, hatred, oil and madness, focusing on a turn-of-the-century prospector in the early days of the business.
*** 1/2 (out of 4)
Ambitious film about an oil man (Daniel Day-Lewis) who will stop at nothing to find the black gold. I must be honest and say I don't know what the whole point of this film was or if it was just trying to show evilness in the world but this 158-minute film kept my interest throughout. I think the film drags somewhat right before the final act but outside of that this is a very good epic that certainly has the look and feel of epics from decades ago. The visual style of the film is the most impressive thing as Anderson's camera takes us on quite a journey and also shows off some amazing locations. Another great thing is how we see how oil was produced back in the day and all the small details on the screen make for a very impressive history lesson. I also loved the first fifteen or twenty minutes of the film, which are done without dialogue. We see Day-Lewis' rise and how he got started within these opening scenes and even though there isn't a line of dialogue spoken we still learn everything we need to know about him. A lot has been said about the performance from Daniel Day-Lewis and while it is a great one I wouldn't call it the best of his career. I think he played this same type of character in Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York and I think he was a lot better there but that's certainly not a slam against his performance here because he's great here as well. That snake quality the actor brings to this role is quite memorable and even when he's doing something good or worthwhile, you can still see that evilness in his eyes. The supporting cast were mostly good but they are miles behind Day-Lewis and I think this hurt in several scenes including the ones with the preacher (Paul Dano). Dano is pretty good in the role but the part needed someone a lot stronger who could match wits with Day-Lewis.
- Feb 25, 2008