This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Andy Summers’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Daniel Day-Lewis is possibly the finest actor we will ever see in our lifetime. With his performance as Daniel Plainview he ups his already formidable reputation to that of legend. Giving us the most ruthless,determined and often unhinged character of his career to date,Day-Lewis more than deserved his second Oscar for a performance so memorable he may never surpass it.
Paul Thomas Anderson is a renowned film-maker never afraid to push the boundaries of celluloid. Loosely adapting Upton Sinclair's "Oil" to give us the story of a gold-miner turned oil speculator whose lust for power and wealth consumes him. Featuring stunning cinematography from Robert Elswit this is a landmark film that glimmers in the California sun.
An almost wordless opening sequence sets the tone of a gritty and authentically accurate early 20th century California.Grimy and dirty this is America.
Intensity is the only word that can describe the sheer power of Day-Lewis's performance as he creates a world he completely dominates from the start. Offering sums of money to landowners and settlers for the right to speculate on their land in search of oil he is a persuasive man. Aided in his quest by a young son H.W. (not really his son) he manipulates situations in his favour with strong words and unsavoury actions.
A movie that descends into a battle of wills between Plainview and a young preacher this will not have a happy ending. Numerous clashes between the two ignite a burning hatred that continues over the proceeding years until a now legendary scene between Day-Lewis and an impressive Paul Dano as the "false prophet" . Parodies of this scene have been frequent but as the story comes to a bloody conclusion we have witnessed probably the best film of this century (according to everyone but me). It is epic,it is grand and it is brilliant but not quite perfection in my eyes,close,but not quite.