Review: Phantom Thread (2017)

Phantom Thread

+ Recommended – R, Drama

Phantom Thread, supposedly Daniel Day-Lewis’ last performance piece, will shake you to the very core. Oddly enough, what the film captures can be very unsettling. As tension builds throughout the story, we (the audience) realize our place as mere observers, helplessly dragged along and unable to manipulate the situation before our eyes.

And that is truly the beauty of the film. We can’t fix or control what is going to happen at any given second, and it’s that fear you feel, that moves the story forward. Clocking-in at over two hours, writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson’s (Punch-Drunk Love, Boogie Nights) sharp and calculated dialogue helps maintain a sense of pace and urgency. This, of course, wouldn’t be possible without Jonny Greenwood‘s original score; a hauntingly-beautiful, foreboding culmination of rich instrumentals. You shouldn’t be concerned about the film’s length, as it’s an experience that burns bright and quick.

Daniel Day-Lewis portrays a hypersensitive dressmaker, Reynolds Woodcock, whose life becomes sidetracked by a beautiful, but imperfect, Alma, played by Vicky Krieps (The Colony). Yes, Daniel Day-Lewis is transformative and captivating, and yet it’s Vicky Krieps that holds your attention throughout the entire movie. You really do focus on her character and what she is going through. Vicky has a gift of acting without words, and her expressions are often heartbreaking. There’s a certain depth she brings to her character; and she holds her own with a veteran like Daniel Day-Lewis. Another pleasant on-screen presence came from Lesley Manville’s (Maleficent, 2014) character, Cyril, who provides a much needed barrier to break the tension.

As a former theatre actor, some of my favorite aspects of the film are from calculated decisions characters make and the camera work that embodies entire sequences. It reminded me of the way staged plays are often handled; meticulous and precise. Perhaps, purposefully constructed with the amount of care equivalent to Woodcock’s dresses. However, one could argue that the ending threw a curve-ball that could ruin the dynamic and tension the film had previously established. For me, that didn’t deduct from the overall quality, as one of my favorite scenes of any movie in 2017 came from this film.

Because Phantom Thread just got its wide release, many of you probably haven’t seen any promotional material for this movie. You can check it out here. After seeing this movie I have shifted my “Top 10 Movies of 2017” list, check it out. Have you seen Phantom Thread? What did you think of it? Let us know in the comments below!

Author: Jared Charles

I am the owner of The Burrow Reviews. Currently studying Film, English, Political Science, and Gender Studies.

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