27 December 2017 | imew
Elegantly Crafted Masterpiece
Intimate, delicate, and a beautifully crafted masterpiece. Paul Thomas Anderson manages to expresses an artist's creative journey through threads of fashion and romance with such subtlety that it could only be conveyed through the medium of film. An atmosphere reminiscent of Kubrick's achievements, this romantic odyssey illustrates a unique perspective of love; a perspective in which love is shaped and manipulated by the fragile strings of each character's hearts.
To begin with, I will praise an awfully disregarded aspect of "Phantom Thread": the cinematography and direction. The style and manner in which Paul Thomas Anderson uses silence and long takes is ingenious, and as stated above, was most likely inspired from Kubrick's works. Similar to the quote, "The less you say, the more your words will matter," the more silence, the more each line will signify. The more long takes, the more each short take will signify. Therefore, this method permits a greater control over the variety of dramatic effects; and in turn, the audience's emotions. Anderson also utilized this technique in many of his other films, including "The Master", "Magnolia", and his masterpiece, "There Will Be Blood".
Of course, this strategy doesn't always serve well. The more the audience regards the dialogue, the more engaging the screenplay has to be. The more engaging the screenplay is, the more compelling the performances have to be.
Yet "Phantom Thread" has all of this. Magnificent lead performances by Daniel Day-Lewis and Vicky Krieps, a strong and often overlooked supporting performance by Lesley Manville, and a sharp, dense original screenplay written by Paul Thomas Anderson himself. A few sprinkles of comedy are also blended in the script, which is always valuable for a romance. Not to forget the costume design either, which was essential to establish a post-war 1950s London environment.
And finally, the score. Arguably the strongest part of the film, the score possesses Paul Thomas Anderson's signature strange aura that is found in several of his other films. It's not a coincidence that one of his most frequent collaborators is Jonny Greenwood, who composed the score for this film, "There Will Be Blood", and many others. While most movies nowadays would use music to heighten drama, Paul Thomas Anderson rejects the common norm; valuing music to form an atmosphere. This atmosphere is crucial in almost all of his works, creating an eerie tone for a mystery that drives the story forward.
A transcendental and sublime work of art so remarkably subtle- delicately transfixing the audience ever so slightly, exploring the convoluted depths of an artist's obsession, and expanding cinema's horizons for miles of wonder- all woven beneath the intertwined threads of the phantom.
Farewell, Daniel Day-Lewis. We will miss you.