Most helpful positive review
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One of the best, and most important films of recent years
on May 1, 2011
If the early Paul Thomas Anderson seemed to be channeling the young hyper-energetic Martin Scorsese, 'There Will Be Blood' - a more quiet and thoughtful, but no less amazing and cinematic work - shows Anderson working in the vein of Stanley Kubrick. In place of a hyperactive camera, there is now a coldly, brilliantly observational one. In place of empathetic if damaged characters there are now people drowning in their own poison and lies.
He has created a film both boldly theatrical and subtly real, both broadly political and intensely personal. Complicated and intentionally confusing emotionally, with a protagonist gradually subsumed by greed, the film is full of ideas and themes, but feels more mature and focused than Anderson's earlier work, brilliant as that all was. Daniel Day Lewis is amazing, the film looks incredible (if simply shot for an Anderson film), one only sees more and more layers and meanings on repeated viewings.
One of the more important films of recent years, this critique of the American dream - both personal, and by extension national - of success, of conquest, and of control is mesmerizing, and ultimately devastating.