Blu-Ray Review | Phantom Thread | 2017
Phantom Thread is one of those films whose riches are best revealed over multiple viewings. On my first viewing, I was enraptured by director Paul Thomas Anderson's style, and by what is reportedly Daniel Day Lewis' final performance. Upon second viewing, I realized just how funny this film really is. Once you know where everything is going, the threads of Anderson's gorgeous tapestry begin to reveal themselves. This is not the veneration of a "difficult genius" as some have accused it, it is a lampoon of those figures.
The Blu-Ray thankfully preserves the grainy textures of Anderson's cinematography. This is one of the most tactile films I've ever seen, you can almost feel the fabric of Mark Bridges' sumptuous Oscar winning costumes between your fingers. Every thread of it is woven so carefully, so purposefully; Phantom Thread is an intoxicating brew of sensual pleasures. Day-Lewis is reliably brilliant, but it's Krieps and Lesley Manville as Reynolds' sister Cyril who really own this movie, outmaneuvering and shutting down Reynolds' ridiculousness at every turn. He's a petty tyrant, but Alma and Cyril not only know how to hold their own, they're the real brains of the operation.
The special features on the Blu-Ray offer little insight into the film, but why should it? The film stands as its own haunting enigma, both romantic, disturbing, and deeply funny. The special features offer brief glimpses into Anderson's process (a reel of camera tests featuring commentary by the filmmaker is especially fascinating), and a mock fashion documentary about the House of Woodcock that feels like a newsreel straight out of the 1950s. The real star here, of course, is the film, which remains one of the high points of cinema in recent memory. It's a luscious, bewitching concoction that's as rich as Reynolds' cream and as potent as Alma's poisoned mushrooms; in short - it's a brilliant and scintillating feast that will likely be long remembered.