In preparation for the Phantom Thread - Daniel Day Lewis apprenticed under the costume department head at the New York City Ballet, and even went as far to sew a genuine Balenziaga dress. It so happens that Day Lewis' portrayal of Reynolds Woodcock would turn out to be the sixty year old actor's swan song - well at least in front of the camera anyway. Phantom Thread tells the story of said Woodcock - a renowned 1950s London society dress maker who's regime is interrupted by Alma - a young waitress who quickly becomes his lover and his muse.
Paul Thomas Andersons's delicate material wears well. Equally as graceful as the lavish dresses, Phantom Thread is from every angle a delicate, beautiful work. Embellished through intricate cinematography - not only is it a shock that Phantom Thread hasn't swept up any visual noms - but it's a tragedy. With such fastidious camera work it would be no surprise if genuine dress makers were at the helm of this exquisite picture.
Method acting appears to be Daniel Day Lewis forte - if this happens to be his last acting role it's wonderful to witness him go out with such a bang. His dress designer Reynolds Woodcock - might even pip Gary Oldman for best actor - and he probably should. An intense man who must not be disturbed by perceived distractions, like even the scraping of a butter knife on toast at the breakfast table or the clanking of tea cups. Day Lewis' nit-picky portrayal does far more than play the fashion diva - he's convoluted, attentive and most powerfully aware of his seeming 'curse' of intolerance.
Enter Vicky Krieps - Alma - a young, confident woman who Woodcock discovers and instantly adores, primarily for her perfect shape and measurements. She believes it to be love but soon realises she is just another object, a jigsaw piece in an introverted genius's repetitive life. However Alma - unlike Woodcocks previous lovers - builds dominance over him. She is strong willed and the first woman to get behind his towering defences and into his head and heart. Phantom Thread shows the sinister beauty of power and role reversal - being in control and pushing someone to their limit.
Stitched along the seam of this picture lies an alluring score from Radiohead's Johnny Greenwood, which deftly binds the material together. Beginning with soft, piano keys before spiralling into violent strings - the transforming score mimics Phantom Thread's changing pace and shifting tone. The soft, sugar plum elegance is all a facade with nothing quite preparing you for its dark and abrupt turn.
With a role like this is, it's almost heartbreaking to hear of Daniel Day Lewis departure from the acting world. Phantom Thread may just be the actor's crowning moment. With a score cleverly used to slowly build alongside a story; lifted by razor sharp dialog - Phantom Thread is a haunting enigmatic ghost of a story.
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Hi I’m James - a huge welcome to my film blog! I started this site just after my 14th birthday and have been bringing you my own take on the hottest box office arrivals and many art house triumphs ever since.