I bought this dvd like 10 years ago, and I did not watch it completely.
The reason was that I found it too long, two and half hours, with not much interesting scenes and dialogues.
But somehow, Daniel character clung on my head.
And in recent years my interest in Psychology grow huge.
Then I wanted to re-watch it.
And that was a perfect judgement.
The reason for that is that Daniel character represents the modern personality sickness in a so subtle form.
- He wants to be rich more than anyone around him, and he does not want to deal with anybody.
- He does not give a damn about people. They are just tools, means for him to reach his own goals.
- He hates everyone.
- He is angry inside.
- He is envious inside.
- He believes everyone can be manipulated.
- He does not have a faith, but he can be Christian, can be Muslim, or a Jew at a finger snap, no problem.
- Same goes in politics, he can be leftist, rightist, feminist, environmentalist, communist, BLMist, racist.. you name it..
Bottom line is that whatever he choose to be should be serving his grandiosity among others.
- But in the mean time he wants to love people, and to be loved. Deep inside he is empty, longing for all those feelings.
He wants to fill his emptiness with a normal human being, but that is something he can not do it.
That is not his nature, so he is in a continues suffering state.
Another great sphere of the movie is that you hardly notice these personality traits on Daniel for the first half of the movie.
And this is exactly about these psychos in reality; deception.
In the first half of the movie, Daniel appears like a poor countryman man striving to be a self made millionaire.
But his dialogues, his facial gestures, his body language are so subtle in presenting the modern psychopath I described above.
Daniel starts his own oil drilling adventures in late 19th century in New Mexico.
One of his workers dies in an accident. And he adapts his son, H. W.
Daniel is also single.
Viewer feels the oddness of this adaptation because Daniel is not type of man who has empathy, care for anyone.
I think this is one of the best part of the story, because viewer is always kept in a suspicion on true character of Daniel.
And answer to this adaptation comes at the end of the movie, may be in the best scene, and dialogue of the movie.
It is the best articulation of the Daniel's psychopath.
Movie goes on with Daniels rising about his Oil business together H. W. by buying some poor and religious farmers' land in California.
Although movie concentrated on Daniel, in my view, it takes a twist after half of it concentrating on preacher of the village church, Eli.
Eli is the son of the farmer from whom Daniel bought the land.
Eli asks for money for the church, he wants to have a bigger, better church.
Though Daniel hates Eli's money ripping of him for Church, he still does all those payments.
Even in in his dealings with Christian farmers, he comes to a point he gets baptised and confesses his sins.
Deception is his normal part of life.
But movie, portrays the Eli no less deceptive and sick than Daniel.
This Paradoxical appearance of sick minds of Daniel, and the Preacher is so captivating..
It is a social paradox between "good" and "evil".
And both are suffering inside themselves, their paradoxical sick personalities.
Both characters of Daniel, and Eli dominates the movie.
Daniel Day-Lewis, and Paul Dano casting these characters are magnificent.