The movie focuses around the slow descent into megalomania of a California oil man at the turn of the century and into the 20s and 30s. Day-Lewis is absolutely phenomenal...though I admit I set myself up to like this movie because I am such a fan of his...that not withstanding the movie did not disappoint. He was so consistent in his portrayal yet laying down that ever so subtle change from beginning to end that his very complex character demanded. Furthermore, the movie has strong undertones (is a strong undertone an overtone...i'm not sure) of revenge which culminate in perhaps the finest movie bludgeoning I have ever seen (not that I can name very many outside of fight club...but this is better than any of those...besides the first rule is you don't talk about fight club...or is that the second rule???). Anyways, there are also a lot of neat religious elements that really get me going because I am becoming more of an atheist every day and a movie that shows the corruptive power of religion has a not so subtle appeal to me. Of course, we can always extrapolate the movie a little further to say that its a battle really between two men who represent the worst of business and the worst of religion. Each of them is trying to capitalize on and take advantage of a generally ignorant population. Anderson is content to have them fight amongst themselves but is this an allegory for our modern situation...I tend to think the model still fits. Though I might vote republican anyways. The soundtrack while mostly scored is also great...really adding to the tension of the film at just the right moments and to exactly the right effect. My only gripe about the movie is the clear distinction between those who know and those who don't. In short, a few characters seem to be absolutely brilliant...most others are nameless faces in the crowd...and i'm not just talking about extras here. Characters with dialoge often come across as robotic without real need while other characters show such depth it makes their idiot counterparts all that much harder to tolerate. Either way, the acting of Day-Lewis carries the film...and its a good thing it did because he is in almost every scene of the film. Before I close out this review let me share a particularly good quote in relation to oil drainage.
Drainage! Drainage, Eli, you boy. Drained dry. I'm so sorry. Here, if you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and I have a straw. And my straw reaches across the room, and then I start to drink your milkshake... I... drink... your... milkshake! I DRINK IT UP!!!
I understand that all that might seem like a silly quote...but once you see the film you'll understand...until then, count the days until that happens. PATRICK OUT!!!