Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Punch Drunk Love (2002)

Tom: 
Punch Drunk Love,2002,USA
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson 
Stars: Adam Sandler, Emily Watson & Phillip Seymour Hoffman 

''I have a love in my life. It makes me stronger than anything you can imagine.''

'Punch Drunk Love' provides a very peculiar dynamic for me personally. I don't really like to use the term 'hate' when referring to a person, So I will say that I very strongly dislike Adam Sandler as an Actor (I obviously dont know him as a person, he seems like a dick but I digress) on the other hand, There are few people I like or admire more than Paul Thomas Anderson. This film features what is possibly the most lop sided Director-Lead Actor combo I can recall and it probably shouldn't of worked, but it is a true testament to the incredible talents of PTA that he was able to create a border line Masterpiece.

Barry Egan is a lonely and quietly depressed man who goes through life running a small business and being hassled by his seven sisters. Barry meets a mystery girl who strikes up an instant attraction to him, but Barry is embroiled in a turmoil with a crooked phone sex line.

I wont say that 'Punch Drunk Love' is my favorite PTA film and I wont say that it is his finest film, but I will say that this film, more than any other, completely showcases PTA's incredible talents and range as a Director. Anderson manages to create a film that is Funny and tragic, heart warming and heart breaking, disturbing and entertaining, thrilling and romantic. Any filmmaker can throw all these elements into one film but very few can make it work, and even fewer can create a film of this caliber.

I first saw 'Punch Drunk Love' about five months ago, and while I liked it, I have referred to it as my least favorite PTA film ever since, that was until today. I dont believe I can fully state how much I adored this film on a Re-Watch. Its such an immensely beautiful and frightening journey that you can't help but be utterly enthralled.

PTA is an incredible Filmmaker, not only is he one of the Greatest living Directors, He is also (In my opinion) The finest Screenwriter working today, and maybe ever. Like Stanley Kubrick, PTA is incredibly passionate about the medium and has an incredible attention to detail and provides so much thought with all of his films. PTA has pretty much perfected the character study through his career, and 'Punch Drunk Love' may be the most shining example. The character of Barry Egan may just be the most intricate, enthralling and interesting character that Anderson has ever created,which is really saying something when this is the guy who wrote Daniel Plainview, Freddie Quell and Dirk Diggler. 

'Punch Drunk Love' excels on all the technical levels. As alluded to above the film is incredibly orchestrated by Anderson. In addition to that, it is beautifully shot by Cinematographer Robert Elswit, who creates some stellar images and sequences from the ordinary locations. I loved the Editing by Leslie Jones and I really appreciated the inter cutting of the surreal images when there is a shift in the tone. Jon Brion's score is beautiful and only improves the events taking place on the screen.

For the last five months, whenever I have been elaborating on my disdain for the work of Adam Sandler, I have always had to make the distinction that he has had one great showing, Now having rewatched said performance I will have to defend it even harder. This is a truly remarkable showing and the film that Sandler was put on this earth for. It completely baffles me to think that this is the same guy who starred in 'Jack and Jill' as well as several hundred other shit films, I guess it is only PTA that can make him watchable. Sandler is well supported by the likes of Emily Watson, who is just enchanting in this film, and the always incredible Phillip Seymour Hoffman who is fantastic as per usual.

I apologize for the fact that this review has basically come off as a love letter to Paul Thomas Anderson, but this film is a prime example that he is an incredible filmmaker. This is a tour de force filmmaking effort that is perfectly Written and Directed by PTA. A fantastic film that I appreciate so much more after a re-watch, and Incredible character study and an intricately constructed piece of work. Bumping my 3.5 rating up to a 4.5. I love you PTA!


****1/2

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