Oct 302002
Authors: Eric Patton

Are you tired of the typical studio? Do you feel your local theater is overwrought with clich/d stories and formulaic directing?

Good! Me too!

And when a movie stands outside that “popular” mold it meets either strong opposition or high-acclaim. “Punch-Drunk Love,” the new P.T Anderson film starring Adam Sandler, should be one that receives high-acclaim and be granted several award nominations.

Already garnering best director at the Cannes Film Festival, this film begins without credits, in a lonely warehouse-style office with Barry Egan (Sandler) questioning a marketing loophole given by “Healthy Choice.” Car wreck. Piano in the street. Cute blonde. Struggling career. Seven torturous, insensitive sisters (who were well cast). Crazed sex chat-line. Frequent Flyer Miles. Inexplicable event of love. Now his seemingly boring and anticlimactic life is something for spectators.

Barry Egan is a depressed, antisocial man who wants nothing more than to continue in his rut and just have everyone get along. But there is a rage inside of him that he cannot express because of severe insecurity.

It is not until he finds love that gives him the strength and confidence he needs to take some control of his existence. Isn’t it odd how the phenomenon of love can give you strength to accomplish things unlikely to your character?

Such topics are what this film, indirectly and not so obviously, addresses. It is done in a manner that the point gets across without blatantly throwing it in the audiences’ faces. It is done with a “monotone” style where even a car wreck seems like an uneventful occurrence.

Paul Thomas (P.T) Anderson has amazed critics with his two previous films, “Magnolia” and “Boogie Nights.” Although both met moderate to shameful success at the box-office, they were both something to see and ponder over. “Punch-Drunk Love” will be a simple continuation.

There are many of you movie-goers that refuse to allow a movie to be different than what you are used to, and this is detrimental to the success of what an actual good film is, opposed to a film that should flop because it is a poor film (i.e. “XXX” which topped the standings several weeks in a row).

Adam Sandler and Emily Watson (“Red Dragon”) were wonderfully cast. It was simply brilliant who ever decided to give Sandler a chance to prove himself as a credible actor, and he has done so. Hopefully this will start a streak for Sandler and his Happy-Madison Productions to do more meaningful works. Watson has already impressed me with her performance as a blind woman in “Red Dragon” and now she is back as a perfect compliment to the insecure character of Barry Egan.

There were not many elements of this film that I think could be improved. Sure, almost in every case there is a slow scene or an actor that was poorly cast, but from Luis Guzman (“Boogie Nights” and “Magnolia”) to Philip Seymour Hoffman (“Boogie Nights,” “Magnolia” and “Red Dragon”) the cast was remarkable.

The direction, superb.

The script, fantastic, yet could be improved very slightly. The indecisiveness I am plagued with would give this an A-/B+. But as far as the readers should be concerned, I am a confident and firm critic that has settled on an A-. Enjoy this film.

 Posted by at 6:00 pm

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