Daniel Day-Lewis is incredible in this movie. He portrays very accurately how, over time, an individual can be eaten up by a long-standing rivalry. He is so jealous of the big oil barons, that at the moment in which his son is returned to him, he cannot stay focused on the boy. Having taken him out to dinner to celebrate, he is consumed with mimetic rage when his old rivals enter the restaurant. Forgetting the boy, he cannot help himself and chooses to confront them, ruining the evening and his moment of being reunited with the person he loves most. Just goes to show how powerful mimesis really is.
At the end of the film, when he loses his son probably for good, his ego which is entirely founded upon domination and rivalry, cannot bear that his son is declaring his independence. He has absolutely no room in himself for the other. The compassion which at the beginning of the film led him to adopt the child has been entirely destroyed. Out of anger, he not only destroys his relationship with him, but then vents his rage upon a substitute, another weaker person. He actually murders the pathetic preacher who has come to beg for money; the preacher who in his bid for power, almost overcame his rival. The system of violence, when it begins to spiral out of control, has a way of claiming those closest to us: the ones we love or hate the most. Thus the oil industry is established upon the blood of the victim.
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