Plainview and son are independent oil men, looking for prospects
in California at the turn of the 20th century. They are challenged
by a young preacher, Eli Sunday whose own ambition is matched
by Plainview's. Their battle forms the center of a scary, darkly
comic historical journey into an abyss of madness.
This reviewer is a huge fan of director Paul Thomas
Anderson’s quirky but affecting works. Who can forget
Dirk Diggler and his huge “staff” in Boogie Nights
(1997)? Who can forget the strangely touching scene of frogs
falling from the sky in Magnolia (1999)? And who would have
thought that Adam Sandler can actually do serious drama so
well in Punch Drunk Love (2002)? So when the Oscar nominated
filmmaker’s new film came along, this reviewer was all
excited about what bag of tricks the visionary director had
be told, the plot doesn’t exactly excite him too much:
The film tells the story of Daniel Plainview, an oil businessman
who is, to put it tamely, competitive in every sense. Set
in the early 20th century, we follow him as his story of family
relations, greed and ravenous, religion and faith, and not
forgetting black, black oil, plays out in a whopping 158 minutes.
from Upton Sinclair’s (1878-1968) bleak novel “Oil!”
written in 1927, this story isn’t anything like the
director’s previous self written screenplays. And we
can assure you that the movie isn’t anything like his
previous works either. It doesn’t matter if you are
not a fan of his quirkily moving films, because this one will
blow you away, no matter what kind of movie fan you are. The
picture is so epically well made; it resembles nothing you
have ever seen before.
there is this masterpiece feel to the film, given its setting.
The filmmakers have creatively and imaginatively created an
era that we have only read and heard about. You see the whole
historical journey envisioned on screen, and you can only
gape in awe at the dark and sweeping cinematography, which
won Robert Elswit (Good Night, and Good Luck) an Oscar.
there is the mind blowing performance by Oscar winner Daniel
Day Lewis, who plays the protagonist whose mad ambition is
something you can only imagine. His unforgettable portrayal
of the daunting and enigmatically comical Daniel Plainview
will definitely go down movie history as one of the most successful
roles ever. His commanding and potent performance has won
him countless Best Actor trophies during the awards season
earlier this year, including a second Oscar for the film.
Also, you’ll be left speechless by supporting actor
Paul Dano (Little Miss Sunshine). Who would have thought that
this 24 year old young man could turn in such a sinisterly
disturbing performance as a staunch Christian activist? The
chemistry between the two comes to a forcefully compelling
finale which takes place at the bowling alley. Let’s
just say straws and milkshakes will never sound the same to
it takes a promising up and coming like Thomas Anderson to
put this together. You have to watch it to believe it.
SPECIAL FEATURES :
For a masterpiece like this, we were really expecting
much more from this Code 3 DVD. There is only one feature
here: 15 Minutes – Pics, research, Etc,
where we get, well, a 15 minute montage of archival pictures,
quotes and footages that provided inspirations for the movie.
It’s nice to see the black and white images interspersed
with the colored ones though.
The visuals are nicely transferred onto the disc, and it does
justice to the award winning cinematography. There are English
and Thai 5.1 Dolby Digital audio tracks to choose from.
by John Li