That's what I said as I was walking out of the theater after seeing "There Will Be Blood", the master work of acting by Daniel Day-Lewis as early 20th century oil tycoon Daniel Plainview in the adaptation of the book by Upton Sinclair. Can't say enough rotten things about him - the character that is. The acting is deep, intense and regardless of who else is nominated this year, Oscar worthy. In fact, he should be nominated next year, too.
I had an argument with a radio host/movie critic once, after he said that it is necessary for the lead character in a film to be likable in order for the film to be likable. I argued to the contrary. Since then, several popular films have been successful in spite of dislikable lead characters, "Wall Street" among them. This one is the latest, but Daniel Plainview makes Gordon Gecko look like a boy scout.
The film is at once arresting and disturbing, but it probably accurately depicts life among the oil men in turn-of-the-century America. They were ruthless and competitive. That much hasn't changed in 100 years, only the location.
If the idea of this film is, at least in part to show us that oil has been a blood sport since the beginning, it succeeds handsomely. It also depicts life in America's oil boom days, when things were happening in California and Texas, and men went where the oil was.
The film centers around Plainview and his quest to acquire property in and around the Sunday family, good church-going folk who know nothing of the fortune that rests under their feet until Plainview and his oil drillers show up.
We spend the early part of the film trying to figure out whether or not Plainview is a genuine character, wishing to do good and make himself wealthy, or if he is indeed a snake and only out for his own gain. It doesn't take long to figure out which.
I will give you one little hint that gives nothing of the plot away. The characters Paul and Eli Sunday are identical twins, and it is not adequately explained in the film. You will see Paul Sunday first, then he will disappear, and his brother Eli will emerge, and you will wonder if they just look alike or are the same person. It turns out they are played by the same actor, Paul Dano (who played older brother Dwayne in "Little Miss Sunshine"). I spent a few minutes working that out in my head, so I figured I'd save you the trouble.
Even though the film is dark, disturbing and truthful, I would highly recommend it. Mostly for the masterwork of Day-Lewis whose performance is riveting to the point that you think he is possessed by the character.
It's one of the must-see films of 2008. In fact, if you're reading this soon, you can skip the stupid Super Bowl and see this instead.