The intersecting life stories of Daniel Plainview and Eli Sunday in early twentieth century California is presented. Miner turn oilman Daniel Plainview is a driven man who will do whatever it takes to achieve his goals. He works hard but he also takes advantage of those around him at their expense if need be. His business partner is his son H.W., who in reality he "acquired" when H.W.'s biological single father, who worked on one of Daniel's rigs, got killed in a workplace accident. Daniel is deeply protective of H.W. if only for what H.W. brings to the partnership. Eli Sunday is one in a pair of twins, whose family farm Daniel purchases for the major oil deposit located on it. Eli, the local preacher and a self-proclaimed faith healer, wants the money from the sale of the property to finance his own church. The lives of the two competitive men often clash as Daniel pumps oil off the property and tries to acquire all the surrounding land at bargain prices to be able to build a ...Written by
Paul F. Tompkins, who plays Prescott, is the only member of the cast to have appeared in a previous film directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. He had a small role in Magnolia (1999) that was cut from the finished film. The rest of the cast had never worked with Anderson before. See more »
In the opening scene, many of the CGI sparks are visible before the miner's pick ever hits the rock. See more »
This film raises the game for everyone out there. I have loved all of Paul Thomas Anderson's work, including his greatly underrated Punch-Drunk Love, but this is a huge leap from any of the previous movies into a realm, as others have said, inhabited by classics such as Treasure of the Sierra Madre - and then some. Every element of this film is astonishing, from the opening twenty minutes, which feature virtually no dialog, to Jonny Greenwood's score, which I have heard criticized as too imposing but which seems just about perfect to me (and brings to mind the non-Blue Danube elements of 2001 at its most experimental). Daniel Day-Lewis' performance is in a league of its own: his voice, his mannerisms, his physical movement, his stunted emotions, are flesh and blood, and hauntingly so, in a way that even Tommy Lee Jones in In The Valley of Elah (which I thought was a pretty staggering performance) can't quite attain. I will watch this film again and again simply to see something so raw and so moving and so gut-wrenching. This is why I love movies; this is what made me want to make movies when I was fourteen years old.
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