It was absolutely fantastic - I was so enthralled that I didn't even look away from the screen during the credits, I was still glued to my seat. I haven't been this excited about a film since I first saw "Blade Runner." And I'm furious that Paul Dano wasn't nominated for best supporting actor. Beyond those vague comments, I need time for it to sink in a bit more before I can really talk about it.
One of my favorite parts was when Eli went to visit Daniel near the end and is trying to wake him up. He tries several different ways to wake him - all unsuccessful. Finally he screams, "Your house is on fire!" but still, Daniel sleeps on, snoring heavily. Eli leans close and says, "Daniel, it's Eli." The snoring stops.
Did anyone else find it interesting that Daniel had zero relationships with women and never was found sleeping in a bed? He was always "camped out," even indoors.
Any interpretations of the final line?
Also, who else thought that as dark and serious as this was, there were also some hilarious parts?
Finally, was I the only one to see some Kubrickian echoes in (at least) the beginning and end of this movie?
If you're referring to why Eli and Paul look the same, it's because they were twins - they were originally supposed to be played by different actors (Dano was cast as Paul), but then the actor portraying Eli quit, after Dano finished his filming for Paul. Anderson chose to recast Dano as Eli, but decided not to reshoot Paul's scenes with a different actor and just make the two characters twins.
And about the Kubrickian nods, Anderson originally was going to have the bowling alley painted white at the end as a "Clockwork Orange" reference, but then found out that someone was buying the mansion they were shooting in afterwards so decided against it - so yes, there's definitely some Kubrickian influence.
And about the last lines - with Daniel's last action, murdering Eli, he's finished. He will be arrested and lose everything he has, which is what he is personally referring to - that's what he means by the line. The underlying message is that the last of Daniel's sanity is finished - whatever sanity he held on to, by even the slimmest of threads, snapped, and he's psychologically finished. The entire movie is really about Plainview's slow descent from a successful, cunning businessman to an absolute madman, and the real question that it raises is - did greed *make* Plainview a madman, or was he always a madman, and merely waited so long to show it, his facade slowly disintegrating over time?
That's how I interpreted the film, anyway. I could be very off base.