Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Stars out of 10: 8.9
Paul Thomas Anderson’s greatest achievement to date is There Will Be Blood. Punch-Drunk Love is second. No, I mean it. It’s an art-house film and times better than Magnolia and Boogie Nights, at-least to me, if not you. It’s surreal, addictive and top of all, extremely fun to watch and is very reeling. It has all the PTA touches: perfect casting, long steadi-cam shots, memorable background music, dysfunctional family and a fidgety, yet somewhat likable, character in the lead, although this is not present in his other movies. PTA is a pretty kick-ass director and his creativity can be seen when Barry Egan is talking on the phone in his apartment. I fell in love with the steadi-cam technique right then and there. Then we have the moment where Barry and Lena share a 30 second kiss. The scene is so artistic and wonderfully done.
Granted, Adam Sandler never really was in my top 10, or anyone’s top 10 for that matter but he turned heads and proved people wrong, if only for just a moment, by his performance Barry Egan. Truth be told, he reminded me of Dustin Hoffman and Ben Stiller from his appearance on Friends The One With the Screamer. He was great in his role and it makes me wonder why didn’t he play more roles like these? Comedy is one word I’ve grown to fear nowadays because they are either too silly, disgusting, or downright unfunny. Many being Adam Sandler’s movies. In this film, he felt like an actor but in his other “comedies”, just a product, a running character, no more, no less. Anyway, accompanying him is the beautiful Emily Watson as love interest Lena Leonard. An OK performance but she was a delight to watch. I thoroughly enjoyed their chemistry and they should do another movie together. From the supporting, Philip Seymour Hoffman was good too. Frankly speaking, I haven’t seen much of his films so I can’t really say how good or bad an actor he is. But, after watching the 100% brilliant anger-phone seen between Hoffman and Sandler, I would really love to see them do another scene like this again in another movie. Now that’s what I call anger! Pure and simple! A must-watch. In all senses, the best memorable phone scene since Dog Day Afternoon or maybe Jerry Maguire.
In all, don’t get put off just because it has Adam Sandler in the lead role. In fact, get ready to be surprised. Although nowhere a classic, Punch-Drunk Love is memorable and enjoyable to the last minute.