“You can sew almost anything into the canvas of a coat. When I was a boy I started to hide things in the linings of the garments. Things that only I knew were there: Secrets.”
Even if your back catalogue includes such achievements as Punch Drunk Love, Magnolia, There Will Be Blood and The Master, it must be quite something to have your most recent film hailed as ‘just exquisite, an unfiltered work; a sublime object’ by the winner of last year’s Oscar for best film.
It’s a fine thing when people champion each other publicly and Moonlight’s Barry Jenkins has truly been out in force declaring his love for Paul Thomas Anderson’s new feature: Phantom Thread (at the Showroom on Friday.)
Starring Daniel Day-Lewis (in his last film before retiring from acting) this is a carefully tailored, lush, resplendent and mesmerising tale of obsession and desire.
It heralds a second collaboration between these titans of acting and directing and proclaims Thomas Anderson as one of just three directors – the others being Jim Sheridan and Martin Scorsese – with whom the award-winning actor has collaborated with more than once.
Phantom Thread gently pulls us into the 1950s and the unrelenting glamour of post-war London in the director’s first film almost exclusively set in Britain.
Here we meet Reynolds Woodcock, a renowned fashion designer to the rich and famous, and his sister and business partner, Cyril (played by the wonderful Lesley Manville – now finally Oscar-nominated for her role.) Hitchcockian wisps of Rebecca and Daphne du Maurier seem almost on the tip of PTA’s tongue here as the ridiculously charismatic and refined dressmaker finds himself caught under the spell of a young waitress, Alma, who soon becomes his lover and muse. However, as they get closer, Alma tires of Woodcock’s increasingly controlling behaviour and the two struggle for power in a series of taut and unconventional ways. The film also reunites Paul Thomas Anderson with Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead who provides another complex, mesmerisingly atmospheric score.
In Phantom Thread, Anderson has woven together a visually sumptuous and expertly crafted story in which we observe a life – once so meticulous and precise – gradually coming apart at the seams.
Also out this week is Journey’s End: A piercing adaptation of R.C. Sheriff’s seminal 1928 anti-war play.
Set in the unforgiving trenches of World War I, this classic drama is retold with sensitivity: a moving film that never shies away from the personal, emotional cost of war.