The man has taken his biggest leap forward yet with this one. I keep imaging Tarantino watching this thinking "fuuuuuuuuck." PTA is simply operating at a different level than his peers. In fact his actual peers are all dead. I asked Mod on instant message right before I saw it something like "what am I in for? Is it what we expect?" He said hell no and he was definitely right. I think this is his most successful film by far.
The film just washed over me like a "hazy fever dream" as somebody else put it. It was angry, it was drunk, it was dark, it was hilarious (HILARIOUS), it was brutal, it was dreamy/hazy, it was beautiful, it was endearing, it was a concoction of feelings...it's a film that needs to be viewed so many times. It is EASILY PTA's most DENSE work to date. EASILY. This one is for the analysts, for the intuitionist...the scenes are so thick. Some of the greatest sequences ever put on film. THIS IS A FUCKING EXPERIENCE.
This really sums it up best. The entire theater I was in stumbled out of this in some hypnotic stupor almost drooling. Forgive the clunky and obvious metaphor but finishing this movie really feels like awaking from a dream and trying to piece it together. I kept asking my friends "that happened right?" We all seemed to remember different scenes that stood out. Samsong you make some good points but I wasn't really bothered with the "how" of the 3rd act. I think "why" is the more pertinent question, which for me you nailed here:
thinking about it now though, lancaster and peggy aren't exactly thrilled or sure of the prodigal son's return, but i wonder if that has to do with freddie's self actualization (peggy storming off saying he doesn't want to be helped, a reflection of freddie's actual state of mind. whether he's beyond help and insane, or the process is a fallacy, he no longer wants to be helped, at least by them), and that the scene essentially ends with the master absolving him gives closure to freddie's struggle against himself. he's free to be the animal he is. that the master's last gesture is to serenade him recalls the first processing scene where freddie's gateway into opening up is remembering doris singing to him. i would totally buy that hearing about doris's life without him is a form of catharsis for him, and the first thing he does when he emancipates himself from the master is goes to a bar and finally gets laid. it's a dubious triumph but it, for me, is like the end of raging bull. he's come to terms with himself.
I think we're all struggling to sustain conversation because this movie really is hard to define, and we're not used to that. It mimics the paralyzing feeling you get after Kubrick or Von Trier, and like them it demands repeat viewings.
And now for some randoms:
- Good god how about Freddie and that wall/window sequence! I can't wait to see this again just for that.
- I understand why Phoenix is getting more attention as he has the showy performance but I think PSH is the standout here. I kept thinking of how JB always marvels at how he's able to create unique human beings with each character he plays. He brings just the right charisma and showmanship paired with some car salesman sleaze that is so perfect. I think it's his best performance yet.
- I felt like this borrowed more from Boogie Nights than CWBB. A loner in need of family.
- The score was much more subdued than in CWBB. Not a criticism, just surprised me.
- I genuinely have no idea what or where the motorcycle scene came from. Any theories?
And I just realized what I assume was an obvious parallel between Freddie making a concoction that he completely improvises each time yet people seem to drink it and enjoy it and come back for more and The Cause.
I love this!