Phantom Thread - Review
Matthew Brady - wrote on 02/26/18
‘Phantom Thread ’ might be the best film I think I have ever seen. Superb in every sense of the word. It's up there with ‘There Will Be Blood’. For the last couple of days after I watched the film, there was something about it that transcended me into a spell. It felt like a dream. An extraordinary incident was watching this a second time in one week, which is something I rarely do. Better on the second watch, if I must say. Gripped ever tighter in it’s sinister approach to love.
What could've been so boring with its subject matter of the fashion world, something I’m not personally interested in, but made it so fascinating. If you watched the trailer and think you know how things are gonna play out, you’re dead wrong.
Paul Thomas Anderson is one of my favorite directors working today and every movie he makes, just like Scorsese, I'm there. While the film making in the movie isn't anything striking, but didn't need to be. Not to say there wasn't any perfectly framed shots. The way he films cars driving was unique. There's a shot in the movie that's taken right out of ‘A Clockwork of Orange’. This guy can make movies like ‘Boogie Nights (1997)’ - A drug rush of funky disco in 1970’s California. Then makes ‘There Will Be Blood (2007)’ - A slow pace horror movie about oil drilling. And now ‘Phantom Thread (2017)’ - The most British thing ever, set in the 1950’s about fashion with shocking parallels to Hitchcock. Are you beginning to see a pattern here - The mighty 7’s.
Daniel-Day Lewis was absolutely fantastic in this movie - Yeah, what’s new. Of course this needs repeating, because he’s wonderful as the picky prick Reynolds Woodcock. What makes him so enthralling to watch is his special ability to embody his characters down to the smallest details. Sometimes during the film, you get close up of his worn out fingers after touching fabric and you immediately know it’s real. To prepare for the role, Day-Lewis actually made a balenciaga dress from scratch. This guy is a mad genius. Without any words spoken, his reaction when people make eat too loud or irritating little noises are hilarious. If it’s true about his retirement from acting, then he picked a great way to go out. He will be missed.
A standout performance from Vicky Krieps, who plays Alma, the woman Reynolds falls for. Krieps deserves more praise for her powerful performance, as she holds her own against Day-Lewis. Both having great chemistry that’s so sweet and yet messed up. I hope we see more of her in the future.
Lesley Manville plays Cyril, the cold silent type who sniffs out trouble in The House of Woodcock. She serves as a helping hand to Reynolds during difficult times, since both are siblings. Another surprise standout who also goes head to head with Day-Lewis and has some of the funniest lines in the movie. Her Oscar nomination was deserved.
Jonny Greenwood’s score is heaven to my ears. Listening to it feels like a warm blanket wrapped around me. One of the best things I've heard in quite a while﻿.
And of course with it being fashion, the costumes and production designs are all terrific. Mark Bridges and Mark Tildesley crafted an astonishing piece of art that breathes life on to the screen.
Something that doesn't get enough praise is the sound design. Really detailed with every door slam, movement of plates and cutlery, needles going through thread, and crust from bread.
This plays out more like a Brother’s Grimm story than a romance. Characters constantly talk about curses, superstitions and the afterlife. Brides not touching wedding dresses as fear they will never get married. Sewing hidden messages within any fabric. Reynolds sewn a piece of his deceased mother hair into the canvas of his coat, keeping her close to his heart. The story about dressmaking and the artist was never the main focus, but something more ghostly. This refers to an irresistible motion of repeating sewing until the fingers get weary, even through their work are already done. Hence the title “Phantom Thread ”.
Overall Rating: A classic chic.