If there is one word that can sum up this movie, it is 'intense'. The settings, the dialogues, the music, the acting and above all the intensely passionate and complex protagonist, Daniel Plainview. The movie charts the rise of this 'oilman' from poverty to riches, on the way showing how far he's prepared to go, and how deep he's willing to fall, to fulfill his ambition. By the end of the movie we see his material success (witnessed by his palatial mansion with a built-in bowling alley), and his complete moral decay (witnessed, ironically, by the same bowling alley). An intensely religious preacher plays a perfect foil to our protagonist and completes the plot, giving us the tagline : "When ambition meets faith".
Daniel Day-Lewis is, as we've come to expect of him, quite simply brilliant in this role. It couldn't have been easy to understand this incredibly complex character, but he plays it very convincingly. This man, who has no qualms about bludgeoning someone to death, and yet at the same time who cares about a little girl being beaten by her father. This man who seems to love his (adopted) son fervently, yet always seems to have a higher fervour for his career and work. As soon as you start liking something about this guy, he does something to alienate you. As a spectator, there's very little purely good in Daniel Plainview, and quite a lot to dislike. But what keeps you riveted is his passion and single-minded, almost insane, devotion to his work.
The movie's abrupt ending is very apt for a movie like this that doesn't make moral judgemnts, but rather seems to say that this is what happens to people consumed by their passion, and lets the audience draw its own conclusions.
An intensely good movie!