Josh Browning’s review published on Letterboxd:
This film is absolutely mind blowing! The fact that P.T. Anderson went from "Boogie Nights" and "Punch-Drunk Love" to this is such a change of atmosphere. I love to see film makers take on a new story, or new setting, and really get out of their comfort zone and give something completely different a try. This film relies on one thing, and it is a big thing. Simplicity. It is not over complicated, and it doesn't move in too many different directions. It doesn't feel long, which is strange because of all of Anderson's movies before this move very rapidly, this moves at a snails pace in comparison. This film doesn't rely on dialogue, I think it isn't until about 15 minutes in that we get our first word of it.
From the opening scene this film captures the essence of the period and draws you in like a hook. They way every scene is shot is done with precision and looks fantastic. Any of the shots when people are down in the drilling holes is awesome. Another thing that is great is the use of violence, it doesn't have much but the little it does have is brutal.
Now, the best part of this film is obviously Daniel Day Lewis. This man is a revelation when it comes to acting. I hold him in the ranks with the likes of James Stewart, and Marlon Brando. His performance, especially in the last 10 minutes is out of this world. But that doesn't mean Paul Dano deserves to be left out. He is also phenomenal. He is performance is calm at times and scary at others, and he is the perfect Yin to Lewis's Yang. What I love about both of these characters, and the overall story is that neither of them is the protagonist of the film. They are both antagonist, you really shouldn't be rooting for either of them. They each are driven by their greed and both put on a facade to get what they want. It makes the film all that much more intriguing.
It is hard to compare this to Anderson's previous films because it is so out of the ordinary for him. It is clear though, that this is him coming into his own and finding a new way to carry a story without the typical narrative. He simply takes you along in Daniel Plainview's journey and let's you figure things out for yourself.
Almost forgot, the score is also great!