A2P Cinema Recommends

"For once, for once in life
I've finally felt
That someone needed me
He needs me he needs me
He needs me he needs me"

These lyrics from Paul Thomas Anderson's 2002 masterpiece Punch-Drunk Love (itself directly taken from Robert Altman's 1980 film Popeye) could easily fit in any of his films. While the tone is playful and fitting in Punch-drunk Love the lyrics may be an even better fit in Phantom Thread, which flawlessly shapes Anderson's career-long emotions of loneliness and the need for someone else to provide purpose. This resonates in all his films but never more essentially then here, and never with such unusual empathy and hope. It has the touch of a mature master filmmaker in full understanding of his personal vision. For all that, Phantom Thread may be the defining masterpiece of Anderson's career and truly one of the significant films of the decade. The performances are perfect and will likely grow in depth over time. Anderson's dialogue is fantastic - finding poetry and mystery in silence between the characters, as Phantom Thread frequently defies our expectations with such quiet expertise which is incomparable mastery in contemporary cinema.

Phantom Thread (2017), Paul Thomas Anderson
Vertigo (1958), Alfred Hitchcock

There are not any obvious influences, though there is little doubt Phantom Thread echoes the feel of 1940s Hollywood gothic romance. I was also feeling some hints of Bergman in there, yet I'm not sure that is deliberate. Above all I think Phantom Thread reminds me personally what makes classic films so wonderful and rich. I believe a good double feature would be from another filmmaker at the peak of his craft - Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo. Very different films but both do share ideas of male protagonists obsessed with molding females in the image of their fantasy. With Phantom Thread however the tables get flipped in a way that male and female offset one another to form an exclusive merger. Both films are full of such splendid and subtle details and both films will stand among the very greatest films ever made - from master artists standing at the top of their generations.

----- Next Week A2P Cinema will share #2 of 5 Double Feature Recommendation -----