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The Rub's Review

Created Mar 10, 2008 01:23AM PST • Edited Mar 10, 2008 01:23AM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Perfect 5.0

    So many reviews of this movie claim that it is about the rise and fall of Daniel Plainview — this is only partially right. On the surface that is the story, but underneath there are uglier elements at play that make this movie what it is at its core, like discussions of concepts such as family, capitalism, and religion. Daniel Plainview’s only family is his “son and business partner” H.W. Plainview. While he primarily uses H.W. to soften his sales pitch at various towns along the way, I think he truly cares for the boy. That is, until an accident at one of the oil wells permanently impairs H.W.’s hearing. Take notice when the accident occurs: the derrick explodes and Daniel immediately tends to H.W. until he realizes the injuries aren’t life threatening. He then spends the rest of the night and into the following day staring up at the burning remains until the problem is resolved — as if nothing else in the known world exists but him. He gets angry at his son for, in his mind, committing the crime of going deaf. This shows fallibility and weakness that Daniel cannot surround himself with if he is to be as successful as he intends.

    That Plainview is driven by greed is not the surprise. It’s the fact that he does so while operating as if it were a sickness, which lends to the idea that he doesn’t have a choice. By planting that suggestion, it implies that pity should befall him for his actions. This is the stroke of genius by Anderson and realized by Day-Lewis’s performance that makes this film work so well. By laying the foundation as they did, and after everything Plainview does in the movie, we somehow do not hold him accountable for his actions because he did them all not by choice, but a matter of instinct. And we quietly root for him the whole time, even if we don’t like admitting as such.

    The main contention in the film is the conflict between religion and capitalism. By showing that a complete and total devotion to either ideal would result in a flawed conclusion, the movie does not take a side. It doesn’t need to. It’s almost as if they presented both sides of the argument and allowed them to crucify each other. Had each man understood that they could have both co-existed, things may have ended differently; although not nearly as engaging. As it were, the men wound up being consumed with their own contorted sense of victory as well as with proving each other and the ideals they represented, wrong. While I think they could have coexisted with each other, once each were hell bent on destroying the other it makes you wonder, would one exist at all without the other? If each man began at opposite ends of the morale spectrum their paths were clearly marked on a crash course to the middle towards an inevitable conclusion.

    Many people will hate the ending of this film. My response to those people: you obviously haven’t been paying attention. The end of this movie is as perfect as anyone could have ever imagined. It is supposed to be unsettling.

  3. Perfect 5.0

    You’ve all heard the reports, and I can tell you that for once, they are not inflated or oversold: Daniel Day-Lewis is absolutely remarkable in the film. Anderson may have created the character of Daniel Plainview on paper, but Day-Lewis immerses himself in the character so deeply that he becomes Plainview, redefining the concept of the craft of acting itself. Daniel Plainview is as ruthless as he is mesmerizing. He is a man who creates tension simply by participating in conversation. He commands the direction of the conversation so much that when asked a question he doesn’t like, he simply continues as if it were never asked.

  4. Male Stars Perfect 5.0
  5. Female Stars Perfect 5.0
  6. Female Costars Perfect 5.0
  7. Male Costars Perfect 5.0
  8. Perfect 5.0
  9. Direction Perfect 5.0
  10. Play Perfect 5.0
  11. Music Perfect 5.0
  12. Visuals Perfect 5.0
  13. Content
  14. Risqué 2.5
  15. Sex Titillating 2.5
  16. Violence Fierce 2.5
  17. Rudeness Salty 2.5
  18. Natural 1.0
  19. Circumstantial Natural 1.0
  20. Biological Natural 1.0
  21. Physical Natural 1.0


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Feb 12, 2009 11:05AM

Regarding Wolfman898’s Review
Great slam Wolfman, and largely deserved. I too was troubled and putoff by the absurd turn towards ridiculous villianry in the second half of the movie.

Jan 12, 2008 9:53PM

First of all, my apologies if an alert went out twice about my review. I was logged in as Administrator, and forgot to login as Wick before first creating my review.

Anyway, it was quite the mob scene at the premiere of TWBB last night. Lines out the door, hard to find parking, all the hallmarks of a blockbuster. And while I rated the movie Great, it surely isn’t your run-of-the-mill blockbuster. As I said to the woman ahead of me in line, “It ain’t no Armageddon.”

Thus I wasn’t surprised that much of the talk as people were leaving the theater was quiet appreciation and bemusement rather than “Wow, what a great movie.”