Sunday, 10 November 2013

Punchdrunk Love

Punchdrunk Love – Paul Thomas Anderson – Apart from the much mentioned fact that this has to be Adam Sandler’s finest ever performance (and by ‘finest ever’ it could by extension be suggested his only fine performance – depending on how you rate the merits of Mr. Sandler’s industrious output of consistently awful comedy), Punch Drunk Love is an acutely observed, bizarre, memorable and uncomfortable study of love and neurosis. Providing the straight-faced flipside to Happy Gilmore’s pantomime of angry lunacy, here Adam Sandler portrays a man of reclusive social anxiety, under which simmers the repressed rage of years of confused and frustrated emotion. The percussive soundtrack brilliantly evokes an uncomfortable and oppressive momentum with which to accompany this nervous energy. The script is entertaining, lacing black humour and wit throughout with a distinct and sensitive communication of character. It maintains an original sense of dark, occasionally, absurdist comedy shot through with Anderson’s eye for unhinged details (the unexplained arrival of a ‘harmonium’ and the fixation with ‘pudding coupons’) and moments of stylized visual experimentation (the blurring of colours that, in a painterly haze of oscillation, seem to herald some sort of scene segway or change … unexpected but somehow paradoxically perfectly appropriate – elevating the narrative above literalism to a sense of more transcendental significance). An amazing film made all the more remarkable through characterful and skilled directing and an amazing central performance. 9/10

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