1. OUT OF THE PAST (1947)

Out of the Past (1947) is about a private detective who moves to a Californian countryside to start a new life. But his past catches up with him. He’s once again drawn into the world of crime, deceit and corruption.

This is easily in my top 3 favourite noirs ever. It’s all because of the complex and mind boggling script. The director finds ways to tell the story in unique and smart ways. The second act onwards the film is one jazzy and complicated trip. A lot of events take place, and things get twisted. So it may get hard to keep up, but this crazy ride is what the film is all about.

Jane Greer in my opinion, plays the best femme fatale ever. It’s because her character is not as over the top as the others. Her character is smart, subtle and low key. Robert Mitchum is a great actor who I think didn’t get his due. He’s charming as this private eye. The beef between him and Kirk Douglas’ character is really well done.

Tourneur has made this film in his unique style, it’s stylistically a little different from other noirs of that period. I loved his use of darkness in every frame. The rhythm that this film moves with, and the melancholic atmosphere add to the suspense.

You have to watch this movie if you’re into film noir. It’s one of the more meatier and complex films of that period. All thanks to Daniel Mainwaring’s brilliant script and Jacques Tourneur’s powerful direction.

  1. PHANTOM THREAD (2017) is about a well known designer, Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day Lewis) who lives a meticulous and fixed lifestyle. He’s controlling, obsessive and stubborn. He wants everything a certain way. All this changes when he falls for a waitress, Alma Elson (Vicky Krieps) who ends up becoming his muse.

This film is like one elegant and sophisticated dinner. The atmosphere is posh, eerie and claustrophobic. Everything looks so perfect, which means that something is bound to go wrong. Johnny Greenwood’s incredible score helps in creating this mood. The lighting is some of the best I’ve ever seen and the film is gorgeously shot. The colour grading is whitish and warm. It’s soothing to the eyes, and also helps evoke an old school British aesthetic.

The way Paul Thomas Anderson has portrayed power dynamics, is masterful and I’ve never seen anything like this. Just a scene of Reynolds taking measurements of Alma establishes so much about the character. The depth given to the characters is really commendable and does pay off till the very end. Daniel Day Lewis is brilliant as always. He just gets lost in the character and you see no shade of DDL in Woodcock. This was his last performance before he retired and it’s a brilliant farewell performance.

The dialogues are paper cut sharp. There are a lot of silences, and the silences often convey more emotions than the dialogues. PTA is a master storyteller as you all know, he has incorporated a lot of fairy tale references. The film is very dense and intricate, on every viewing, you’ll be rewarded more stuff.

Phantom Thread has a pretty interesting ending, it’s weird and may not work for everyone but it worked for me. I love it when great filmmakers like PTA take risks and show us something new and out of the picture. Ballsy decisions like these help in developing this art form further.

Phantom Thread is a masochistic love story like no other. It’s elegantly made with a lot of amazing “show-offy” filmmaking by the greatest director of the century, and after seeing it a second time I could say that it’s close to a masterpiece.

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