In light of my defense of Paul W.S. Anderson a couple of weeks ago (in the context of my disappointment with Resident Evil: Retribution), I was interested to come across Armond White’s joint review of Retribution and Paul Thomas Anderson’s much-lauded The Master.
White is one of the most interesting critics in the U.S. today, cranky, opinionated, contrarian — and sometimes just plain off-the-wall. But here he rather aggressively supports my own feelings about these two filmmakers. Although there are things I find interesting, and sometimes quite viscerally powerful, in P.T. Anderson’s work, I generally find him overwrought and irritating; his films exhaust me with their over-stuffed “drama”, and often descend into silliness (the bowling alley climax of There Will Be Blood, for instance, ended up making me laugh when I’m sure it was supposed to be achieving the lofty heights of tragedy).
I’ll still go see The Master, though with muted enthusiasm. But White’s comments actually make me want to take another look at Retribution.