Paul Thomas Anderson’s eighth feature film, Phantom Thread, is a complex and chilling foray into unhealthy relationships. Anderson is a director known for his intricacy, whether it’s a character’s personal means or the finer details within a larger narrative. Early Anderson saw a large, bombastic style, but his development over the years has seen him develop restraint and subtlety (not that there wasn’t any before). Phantom Thread sees Anderson at his most complex, executed in ways we've never seen him do before, such as Inherent Vice, which I still manage to unravel deeper meanings in after eight viewings.
The script is so finely woven and unsettling, but it fits perfectly when on screen, the precise nature of Woodcock’s work reflecting all the little details found within the actual film at hand. It’s a master class of style and design. Anderson has gone up and beyond to ensure that every department is delivering nothing but sheer perfection. The costuming is particularly illuming, every dress as gorgeous as the sets they’re held within. This entire movie plays out like a renaissance painting, full of big, bold imagery that’s nuanced and detailed, playing into the bigger picture while working as their own individual showcases of beauty.
And those performances… wow. Daniel Day Lewis is, as to be expected, phenomenal, but there’s no one stand out actor present in this whole film. Without the brilliance found within the ensemble cast, this film wouldn’t be nearly as flawless. Vicky Krieps, whose character slowly develops into more of a protagonist than Woodcock is, manages to hold her own against such a powerful cast, even giving what’s arguably the greatest performance in the film, if any performance where lucky enough to be labeled the ‘greatest’. She has a fiery determination that’s fierce and frightening, able to stand up against her on-screen counterpart in the most gripping, shocking of ways.
I cannot express enough love for this movie. It’s an unmatched display of raw power and ultimate control, where Anderson feels like an unstoppable force impossible to look away from. As you may have heard, Phantom Thread is, unfortunately, Daniel Day Lewis’ final movie. While the news is most upsetting and it’s difficult to see such a talented performer reach retirement, this certainly is a memorable way to go.
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