I'm very puzzled by the ending and feel like there are a lot of loose ends or things that didn't serve any purpose.
Even though I really dislike pretty boy 1990s Daniel Day-Lewis, I thought he nailed the character in this one. In other movies I often see the face of the actor distorting the character, but this performance felt like the camera is filming the man himself.
So performance wise, excellente. The sharp turn in the relationship between Daniel and his son was very emotional for me because it parallels my brother's relationship with my father, so that also was very emotional and well done, it was shocking and overwhelming. Almost shed a tear during the final confrontation between those two, bro.
But then we have the whole religion thing, and I have no idea what the purpose of that was. Yes religion is stupid and Eli turned his town into a cult, Daniel said what he didn't mean in order to get the land, and later on he made Eli do the same thing for payback, but then... he bashed his head in to death? I do not understand his anger with Eli, I don't understand why he tackled him in the mud, and worst of all I have no idea what Daniel wants with his life.
Basically my complaint is that while the individual elements of the movie (atmosphere, camera work, Lewis' performance, some struggles) are really well done, now 2 and a half hours later I have no idea wha I'm supposed to think or feel, there was no closure and the whole thing was an interesting episode that didn't go anywhere.
I consider this a great experience but it's far from a masterpiece, none of it served a purpose, had any moral points or will be memorable in the future. All I will remember is Daniel's masterful face, painted in oil.
Edit: Maybe it's an American thing? It's your history so it makes sense that it means more to you than me it does to me.
I think there should be a new system of movie classification that classifies movies as 'by Americans for Americans' or 'American movie that speaks to everyone' because between this, Argo, Zero Dark Thirty and others, I can't relate and I don't care..