Man, Daniel Day Lewis is a beast of an actor. No surprise, really. Its a little known fact that ALL great things come out of Ireland. And, now he’s playing Abraham Lincoln in a Steven Spielberg movie? I mean, if that doesn’t add up to another Oscar for best actor, my math really isn’t that good.
But, still, I’ve gotta count his role as Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood as his greatest performance. The Butcher in Gangs of New York was amazing and thoroughly entertaining and savage, but, there was still never any doubt he was a character. Daniel Plainview was played so deep, he became more human than 99% of the people you’ll bump into on the street. Greed, pride, cut-throat determination… its hard to find a character that emoted more.
Its all on display in this, the final, microcosmic scene, where all of his hatred for humanity boils over in a frenzied, articulated, supremely self-confident rage. Paul Dano cowers perfectly as Lewis reaches the deepest depths of contempt. The result is one of the greatest scenes in the history of film.
“Drainage! Drainage, Eli, you boy. Drained dry. I’m so sorry. Here, if you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and I have a straw. There it is, that’s a straw, you see? You watching?. And my straw reaches acroooooooss the room, and starts to drink your milkshake… I… drink… your… milkshake! “