Paul Thomas Anderson directed this film that chronicles the life of Daniel Plainview, a man whose greed and ambition gets in the way of a steady life and a sense of livelihood. His son is permanently def because of an accident with an oil-explosion, and for the rest of the film we see the desperation and lack of interest that rumbles inside Daniel Plainview; by the end, we see he is a tortured and merciless man with little in his life but a big checkbook; yet the character’s grittiness, and the amazing performance by Daniel Day-Lewis causes any criticism towards him to bounce back with the thought of his piercing self-defense mechanism.
The dark, shadowy shots of the film combed with the dirty concept of oil creates an atmosphere of disgust. Basing the film on Upton Sinclair’s “Oil”, it exposes the harsh realities and lack of safety-regulation in the oil industry, depicting from the first scene, where a man is killed after falling into an oil-well. The baby of the man goes to Daniel, a man whose interests lie elsewhere.
Later in the movie, we are bombed with another dimension to judge Daniel’s personality, when a man arrives on his location alleging he is Daniel’s half-brother. The line between truth and the assumed exploitation of his money, Daniel acts cautiously and bluntly around this man, showing no signs of affection other than the protection of his money.
The movie has the sort of life-defining scope of Citizen Kane, chronicling Daniel’s rise in the oil industry, and his subsequent fall into self-hatred and alcoholism, the age old motto that money does not make you happy. He falls into a state of complete dismal ecstasy so that we cannot any longer empathize with his troubles; he Is mean to his son, who by all merits should be angry at him for such a busy, unstable childhood.
The film has a menacing soundtrack that is held beyond expectations; beating, like a heart, we expect it to wan out and into mute, like Daniel’s son, but it keeps going. The suspense is withheld by this, and by the natural darkness of the subject-matter: Holes, shady bars, and iron-drills, it is a place in need of a monster rag. An undoubted masterpiece showing the harsh realities of capitalism, greed, and saving money in sacrifice of safety; a movie that should not be missed, despite It’s deep and depressing qualities.