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So if you haven’t heard the story yet, Adam Sandler has made a movie that proves he has a soul.
See, in Punch Drunk Love he doesn’t play the infantile man-child suffering from Arrested Development. Instead, such social and mental handicaps are forced upon him by his suffocating sisters—of which he has seven.
However, one of them does introduce him to a woman played by Emily Watson who is attracted to his childish, medication-necessary, antics (one running joke is about him throwing a hammer through a glass door as a child). She, strangely, is completely drawn into this world because, as I’m willing to purport, she sees the great and caring guy underneath.
That element of the film—the element of “holy shit, a woman is actually falling in love with this guy?”—is played out in a manner that doesn’t allow it to fall prey to the formula of having a turning point scene that sticks out blatantly. In Billy Madison, it was when he sticks up for a kid who pissed his pants. In Big Daddy, it was having a child show up at his door.
The other element that makes Paul Thomas Anderson’s film well done is that it’s not a high concept film (like Billy Madison’s “dumb guy goes back to school” or Big Daddy’s aforementioned random child appearing). It’s a simple film. Boy meets girl type of film done in such a different way that it makes it feel different from any other romance story I’ve seen.
One thing that I noticed in this movie that is done very well is the use of silence. It, mixed with the cacophonous soundtrack, add to the emotion of the scene. Such boredom and such dread sometimes mix with these two elements.
And what definitely adds to the silence and soundtrack is the cinematography which utilizes excellent, long, tracking shots up towards and away from subjects and objects either innocuous or belligerent. The only time that the camera movement stops is when Sandler’s life stops and isn’t as chaotic as everything around it. P.T. Anderson does a good job of marrying the images and the sound to give the effect necessary to pull off this movie in such a way that it keeps it from being like every other Adam Sandler film.
There’s also a nice little sub-plot involving Philip Seymour Hoffman and one of his call-girls, but that whole thing is so ridiculous that I leave to your viewing to experience all that excitement.