• Two viewings in theater in Jan 2018- it’s a tough beast to tame- or attempt to- even after two viewings.
  • The three principals are all superb—DDL is probably the best performance in cinema in 2017 and Manville and Krieps are up to the challenge in support
  • Jonny Greenwood’s lush score is very different than his work in his previous PT films (starting with there will be blood. The piano scales here are absolutely sublime but less ethereal and un-film-scorey than his previous scores. It’s more like one of the best scores from Hollywood in the 1950’s
  • Mise-en-scene is flooded with gorgeous wallpaper, flowers and impeccable period detail
  • The character and relationship (with the 3 leads) here is meticulously built. It’s more like the 2002-12 era for PT (PDL, TWBB, The Master) in this way where right away he’s telling you about his central character through style and formal construction. It’s not a narrative puzzle (that admittedly PT himself didn’t have much interest in) and shackled to Pynchon like Inherent Vice.
  • The protégé relationship is absent here. No California location for the first time as well of course
  • It’s an odd love story of two idiosyncratic people (need a better word here) lucky to meet each other. I think the film’s closest cousin isn’t a merchant ivory film or age of innocence or anything but PT’s Punch-Drunk Love. Think of how perverse this relationship is with “I want to punch your face and smash it” with Watson and Sandler
  • Small little homage but the car speeding and the way it’s shot through the backroads of the UK had to make you think of a clockwork orange if you’re a cinephile
  • Like all of PT’s work there are elements of great black comedy—the breakfast sequences are terrific in this regard
  • Certainly Manville’s stern caretaker sort of character reminded me of Judith Danvers in Hitchcock’s Rebecca and Krieps early naiveté and obvious younger age reminded me of Joan Fontaine but clearly PTA is riffing off that because Krieps has a lot more to her
  • Certainly there are elements (creative, almost dictatorial man and sacrificial and accommodating wife) that remind me of Arofonsky’s mother!– but I think clearly PTA’s achievement here swallows that film up whole
  • It doesn’t feel as expansive as the master or as tightly wound formally as PDL
  • Another story from PTA of a monomaniacal man
  • Secrets, opaqueness…layering. A study of PTA himself perhaps or an artist at work at the very least
  • The cove where they kiss looks like the SF bay in Vertigo.
  • Tougher for me to find the ebb and flow of the visual formal markers than PDL and the master and without them it won’t be a masterpiece. This isn’t the stylistic bravado high-wire act that magnolia and boogie nights are
  • The eating is the motif and theme I can unpack pretty well. Its part of their relationship throughout from the initial meeting with the long order and “hungry boy” (which is pretty much the very last line in the film) to the breakfast battles (which are hilarious) to the asparagus epic breakdown to the mushrooms and the flirtatious and sexual way DDL eats it and injures himself. This stuff is amazing and you combine this with the acting and décor detail and you have a must-see film.
  • Gorgeous new year’s party
  • The flowers in every scene remind me of the christmas light bulbs used in nearly every scene in Kubrick’s eyes wide shut– I’ve thought many times that it’s really Kubrick that is PTA’s closest peer
  • Alma is the name of Hitchcock’s real wife—not accidental
  • Mother issues—not sure I’ve completely unpacked this. I don’t think it’s as simple as DDL’s infantile behavior
  • So there’s a visual element here going on with the staircase I think. It could be a stretch but the height of DDL on the staircase is his way of asserting power. He’s on top and they are looking up to him. At the beginning of the “asparagus ambush” it’s Krieps who is on top and DDL never looks comfortable looking up. Again, could be reading into it too much but really nothing is an accident with PTA
  • Like I said Krieps is much more complex than first meets the eye. She’s equal to DDL but we don’t see the elaborate montages of her fastidiousness (like we do with him in the character building openings) to let us know. She says “if you want to have a staring contest with me you’ll lose” and she delays in answering him on his marriage proposal and then, oddly, She insists on asking him. Actually from the very beginning she kicks back calling him “too fussy” and on the first date she pushes back when he says “stand like you were” vs. ‘stand up straight”
  • Lines I adore are “you’re leaving but the interruption is staying”- not sure if this is as good as “I drink your milkshake” from TWBB but still, The other is “I’m admiring my own gallantry” when talking about eating her asparagus. Riotous
  • DDL is infantile—perhaps bi-polar but either way a fascinating psychological study. I hate to invoke the name but it reminded me of Hitler from downfall (which I just watched prior) how he would roar to a crescendo and then fall back down hard and be almost a different man
  • Incredibly rich subtext—too much under/over the surface for most viewers
  • I think it’s best shot as a masterpiece is the formal precision- routine and variation like Paterson almost
  • The first date interrogation by DDL reminded me of the famous master processing scene
  • DDL is simply one of the best and this is right up there for him amongst his best. He’s so good at playing a man of passion—someone with a vocation and clearly being monomaniacal is up his alley with his ability to focus and his method
  • The 3 person character dance reminds me of that with Adams in the master
  • Lots of voice-over for PTA like inherent vice– I don’t think it’s best suited to him when he’s so good at showing not telling
  • Oddly enough I’m a little disappointed even though I have this as a Must-See quality film for now- top 5 of the year quality. It’s stronger than inherent vice without question but it’s weaker than his previous 5 films. I hate to say this but I think at this point he should take an extra year or two and come back with a bomb in 2022 or something