When and how did I watch this?
December 8th and 9th, 2015, on Netflix.
Had I seen this film already?
What did I know about the movie before watching it?
Once again, I’d seen Daniel-Day Lewis in Last of the Mohicans, and he blew me away with In the Name of the Father. Would it be possible for him to top this role? The title itself said it would be thematically dark.
What do I know about it now?
The dirty, chaotic, claustrophobic opening sets it up, and the movie never fails to diverge from this feeling for its remainder. Dare I say it? This film was “perfect.” I both hated and loved Plainview, admiring his determination yet having great disdain for his thirst for power and total disregard for the many regular folks he took advantage of. There must have been a good 20 scenes where I just sat back and said, “Man,” wondering how much more wrong everything could go and how much longer he could get away with it. I’ll never see milkshakes the same again.
What are some themes in the film?
Pride, power, deception, capitalism, personality disorders
Did this affect me personally?
Yes. The oil fire scene, the restaurant scene, the showdown with his “son” scene, and the bowling alley scene — all of these are forever remembered.
Why is this ranked #174?
I think a lot of people feel the same way about it. I’ve heard people get excited about the “milkshake” scene, but they probably laugh at it to kind of suppress how grisly and defining this film is.
Did my wife watch/like it?
She thought it was great.
Would I watch it again?
Yes, but likely with the side of my eye and with the same uneasiness the whole time.
Would I recommend it to a friend?
I’m probably last among my friends, yet again. If you haven’t, it’s worth it.
Does it deserve to be on this list as one of the greatest films of all time?
No question about it. The Oscars usually don’t really drive my opinion of films, but they got it right with this one’s acclaim. It shouldn’t be left off of any larger top movie list.