Punch-Drunk Love (P.T. Anderson, 2002)

“I don’t have any business here. I came here for you.” – Barry Egan (Adam Sandler)

“So here we go.” – Lena Leonard (Emily Watson)

Boogie Nights has the gloss. Magnolia has the tragedy. But Punch-Drunk Love has the magic. The two quotes above signify the complicated nature of this magic, a risky and worthwhile trip into the abyss of loving not one self or the image of others, but the soul of another human being. The clarity and purpose of Punch-Drunk Love retains a lasting impression, the colors and mise-en-scene literally seeping into the viewers pours engaging romantic memories of old. The sound design warrants a full term paper by itself, a stunning array of psychological audio combinations and heartfelt music cues. Having not seen the film since it opened in the Fall of 2002, I’d forgotten the force of Sandler’s performance and the beauty of Anderson’s direction. It’s great to be reminded, reborn along with Barry and Lena. Having watched three PTA films in a row for the second time, it’s hard for me to think of another American director (except Clint) who’s established themselves as a complete film artist. Punch-Drunk Love is a poetic masterpiece devoted to the longing and fulfillment of romance incarnate and an exemplary compliment to the harsher but just as layered worlds of Dirk Diggler and Frank “T.J.” Mackey.

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