“Whatever you do, do it … carefully.” There, ladies and gents is the mission statement of P.T. Anderson in a nutshell. His latest film, Phantom Thread, which has quietly been winding its way through post production reunites the director with his star Daniel Day-Lewis, here strangely channeling late-period Ralph Fiennes (just close your eyes, and you can see Fiennes in the role just through the audio association). Of course, it is clear from the trailer that Day-Lewis shall deliver as mesmerizing a performance as his Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood. Here he plays a mysterious tailor that likes to sew mysteries into his garments. The film follows his relationship with a waitress (Vicky Krieps) he courts, and eventually makes a model for his clothes.
Set in the glamour of 1950’s post-war London, renowned dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock and his sister Cyril are at the center of British fashion, dressing royalty, movie stars, heiresses, socialites, debutantes and dames with the distinct style of The House of Woodcock. Women come and go through Woodcock’s life, providing the confirmed bachelor with inspiration and companionship, until he comes across a young, strong-willed woman, Alma , who soon becomes a fixture in his life as his muse and lover. Once controlled and planned, he finds his carefully tailored life disrupted by love.
Visually impressive, yet somehow cold and austere as well, in a fashion that brings Anderson closer to Kubrick and further from Altman. I expect the dual meaning title Phantom Thread will be a stand out in a year that has been a spectacular year of ambitiously visual projects, including Dunkirk, Blade Runner 2049, mother!, Okja, War For The Planet Of The Apes, Lady MacBeth, Hagazussa, Valley of Shadows, The Killing of A Sacred Deer, A Cure For Wellness, and The Florida Project.