HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Birth of the Dragon
Revenge of the Pink Panther
Thelma
Stratton
February
Taking of Beverly Hills, The
Marjorie Prime
Hotel Salvation
Mangler, The
Shiraz
Mercy, The
Kickboxer: Retaliation
Molly Maguires, The
Party, The
Dante's Peak
Housemaid, The
Vendetta
Brimstone
Boys in the Trees
Once Were Warriors
Red Planet Mars
Blade Runner 2049
Devil's Express
Belko Experiment, The
Flashback
War of the Arrows
One-Trick Pony
Cloverfield Paradox, The
Beach Rats
In Between
   
 
Newest Articles
They're All Messed Up: Night of the Living Dead vs Land of the Dead
The House, Black Magic and an Oily Maniac: 3 from 70s Weird Asia
80s Meet Cute: Something Wild vs Into the Night
Interview with The Unseen Director Gary Sinyor
Wrong Forgotten: Is Troll 2 Still a Thing?
Apocalypse 80s UK: Threads and When the Wind Blows
Movie Flop to Triumphant TV Revival: Twin Peaks and The League of Gentlemen
Driving Force: The Golden Age of American Car Chases
Madness in his Method: Jim Carrey and Andy Kaufman
Music, Love and Flowers: Monterey Pop on Blu-ray
   
 
  Punch-Drunk Love Crazy little thing called loveBuy this film here.
Year: 2002
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Stars: Adam Sandler, Emily Watson, Luis Guzmán, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Ashley Clark, Lisa Spector
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance, Weirdo
Rating:  7 (from 4 votes)
Review: Paul Thomas Anderson's fourth film features sex phoneline blackmail, crunching crowbar attacks, terrifying car crashes, psychotic rages, masturbation and relentlessly profane language. It is also one of the most romantic films of the decade so far, further proof of Anderson's willingness to subvert formula and bravely try to put new twists on old themes.

Many eyebrows were raised when Adam Sandler was announced as the star of Anderson's much-anticipated follow-up to 1999's Magnolia. Sure, Tom Cruise had shone in that sprawling psychodrama, but the likes of Born On The Fourth Of July had already proved that the Cruiser had some dramatic chops. Sandler's CV up to that point was comprised solely of undemanding mainstream comedies that range from the entertaining (The Wedding Singer) to the execrable (The Waterboy), most hovering nearer the latter category. And while his role in Punch-Drunk Love could have been played just as well by, say, Nicolas Cage or John Cusack, he nevertheless does a tremendous job as the socially inept, pathetic-but-lovable Barry Egan. Sandler's character isn't particularly different from the belligerent outsider who refuses to grow up that he often plays, but by neutering the actor's usual crowd-pleasing comedy antics, Anderson has created something altogether more disturbing.

Egan works out of a warehouse specialising in selling tacky novelty items, and leads a lonely, single life constantly under the shadow of his seven overbearing sisters. When one of them decides that it's time for Barry to get a girlfriend, he is initially resistant to such blatant matchmaking ("I don't do that kind of thing" he tells her). But fate has its way, and soon he is smitten with pretty Lena (a terrific Emily Watson), and against all the odds she seems to find him just as alluring. So a tentative relationship begins, but can love survive Barry's tendency to react to uncomfortable situations with random bouts of self-destructive violence, or the fact that he is being extorted by the violent members of a phone sex outfit?

Punch-Drunk Love is a deeply strange film that exists in its own little dream world. The combination of romantic whimsy and harder adult material is reminiscent of David Lynch and the Coen brothers, but this comes with more heart than those directors are usually inclined to give their stories. You really like Barry and Lena, their first kiss, half way through the film, is a wonderfully uplifting moment, and there's a great sense of relief when it becomes clear that for all his quirks and psychoses, she does really like him too.

The film is often very funny, but a few moments of slapstick aside, there aren't many gags as such; the humour is simply inherent within the director's skewed worldview. There are some great, quirky touches — Barry is buying hundreds of chocolate puddings in order to take advantage of a loop-hole he has discovered in their free air miles offer, while the small piano he finds dumped on the pavement in the opening scenes seems to grow in importance as the film develops.

As with Boogie Nights and Magnolia, Anderson uses music and colour to propel his film forward at a breakneck pace (at 95 minutes, this is almost half the length of its predecessor). Jon Brion's innovative score moves from lush orchestrations to surreal cartoon music, and the stand-out sequence in which Lena asks Barry out for their first date is scored like a Michael Mann action setpiece, pounding percussion almost drowning out the dialogue. The camera rarely stays still, while appearances from Anderson regulars Luis Guzmán and Philip Seymour Hoffman remind us that this truly is the director's joint; and anything can happen.
Reviewer: Daniel Auty

 

This review has been viewed 6110 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (1)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Jason Cook
  Andrew Irvine
Ian Phillips
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: