Daniel: I hate most people.
What must be said upfront is Daniel Day-Lewis gives what is, hands down, the best performance of the decade. Now, that is out of the way, what else makes this film so great?
Iconic music. Jonny Greenwood proves Thom Yorke isn’t the only great thing about Radiohead with his groundbreaking score. It plugs you directly into the movie’s emotions. The coldness of the main character, as well as the chaos of the world around him brought to life by the rock veteran.
Unforgettable moments. Daniel being baptized is the scene. It pushes the story forward but also perfectly displays Daniel’s character with the simple replacement of one word. Credit due to P.T. for writing “boy” instead of “child” the third time around and Day-Lewis selling the hell out of it. The oil discovery scene is also as amazing a set-piece as there ever was.
Great dialogue. Day-Lewis is great because he was given so many great words to chew on.
“I drink your milkshake”
“Ladies and Gentlemen, if I say I’m an oil man, you will agree.”
“I have a competition in me.”
“There’s a whole ocean of oil under our feet.”
And the ending… what an ending. I’ve heard some complain about the film jumping in time, but that misses the point. We aren’t watching a biography, where we need to see how we got from A to B. We are watching a man struggle with what little bit of good is in him and we are watching it die.
Not since Paul Thomas Anderson’s own previous masterpiece (Magnolia), can I remember such an ambitious and ballsy ending. I wish more films would care as much as this one about what the final image or moment of their film says and does for the audience (I’m looking at you An Education/Precious) instead of just crapping out and wrapping up the loose ends. In fact, I wish every film from start to finish was as good as There Will Be Blood.