• There are two ways to view and evaluate this movie. In comparison with every other movie out there, in fact, more than have of the film in my archives, it’s a superior work. I’ve got it as roughly the 12th best film of 2014 so that’s really good for almost any other director. However, as a P.T. Anderson film it can’t be viewed as anything but a failure.
  • It is neither the formal masterwork his previous 3 films had been or the stylistic high-wire act his two masterpieces from the 90’s were
  • It’s no copycat but there’s certainly an influence of Hawks’ the big sleep (plot incoherence), Altman’s’ the long goodbye (absurdism), and the big Lebowski (a little of both and add in the rambling hippie detective).
  • Weakest of their three collaborations but still a strong Jonny Greenwood score- it owes a bit to vertigo and “the doors”, particularly the string work on “the end” (used in apocalypse now)
  • It’s about memory (like many of this past works) and pain and a quest for connection—there is a lot there under the surface for Phoenix’s “Doc”. He’s a romantic with a broken heart
  • Brolin’s “Big Foot” is his mirror here for form and variation. “Are you ok, brother?” “I’m not your brother”. No, But you could use a keeper”
  • There were 5 years off before both there will be blood and the master. Two years only here so maybe he’s an artist that needs more time. He only needed 3 years for Punch Drunk Love after Magnolia but PDL is only 93 minutes— this is 148
  • There’s an intro by Ricky Jay in magnolia but other than that this is really PTA’s first voice over—I think the film suffers for it
  • Another Altman touch- a terrific shot of the last supper- which is a nod to Altman’s MASH as well
  • My favorite single shot is probably when Waterston drives away at the beginning with the soundtrack breaking in on Phoenix who is hit with the paranoia of being watch potentially and then we have the big flashing neon green title. Great shot
  • Period detail in décor is there- shag carpet, beads, clothing—I really like Brolin’s home décor- almost like a 1950’s Sirk film- another spot we’re he’s Phoenix’s twin in contrast
  • Like the nod to Vietnam with the men in the sand
  • Del Toro’s casting as his lawyer is a nod to fear and loathing
  • I’m not going to say it’s PTA’s least funny film but it’s broader- banana dick jokes, fake teeth
  • From a stylistic side PTA shoots many of the extended dialogue sequences with slow tracking shots slowly coming in on the conversation
  • I think the flashbacks to Waterston and their time together (or just their face) is his formal trigger here- one of the best is the sequence in the rain to one of the two great Neil Young songs—the Young songs are clearly triggers to melancholy over the past
  • Reoccurring shots of Phoenix’s dirty feet
  • Belladonna here in the film in a small role- another Porn Star like Nina Hartley in boogie nights
  • Waterston is not only his nostalgia trigger- but he’s also Phoenix’s femme fatale of sorts- specifically the new Waterston that has changed. Waterston’s one-take sex scene is very impressive acting for sure
  • Love the bookend shot of the ocean view between two houses
  • Recommend/ Highly-Recommend border