Tag Archives: Hard Eight

Now Wave: Paul Thomas Anderson

Current filmmakers on the brink of greatness – and those who’ve already achieved it

In the thirteen years since the release of Anderson’s breakthrough film, Boogie Nights, he’s quickly become one of the most acclaimed directors working today. His output is small, but each of his five feature films have earned a devout following in their own right.

And perhaps none of his projects has earned both as many follows and detractors as 1999’s Magnolia. With a top-notch cast including Tom Cruise (who garnered a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his bizarre, larger than life turn in the film), Magnolia could have been a crowd-pleaser. Instead, the film runs 188 minutes long (a full half hour longer than any of Anderson’s other already extended works) and boasts a climax completely with a rain storm of frogs. But to boil the film down to one surreal scene does a disservice to Anderson’s tightly-woven storytelling and soulful, quietly innovative camera work.

Mainstream fervour over this young director reached a fever pitch with the release of 2007’s There Will Be Blood. The film went up against (and eventually lost to) No Country for Old Men at the Oscars in a race that still has film fans debating the desired outcome. The film also earned star Daniel Day-Lewis an Oscar for his now iconic portrayal of Daniel Plainview, and gave Anderson his first Best Director nomination.

With so few films under his belt, Anderson’s canon feels far from complete. Yet, with each film, he takes his craft in new directions. His next project is rumoured to be a collaboration with Anderson favourite Philip Seymour Hoffman on a film concerning Scientology. Whatever the project may be, Anderson has a legion of fans waiting with baited breath.