Phantom Thread 4K Blu-ray Review
The acting is off the charts
Phantom Thread Film Review
The tea is going out. The interruption is staying right here with meIn a cinematic landscape filled with Superhero movies and Comic book interpretations, where Studios are baying for the next big thing for the next big money-spinning block buster, while a cinema-going audience is brought up on a diet of ever increasing mind-numbingly dumb action movies, it comes as a surprise to find a quiet film, about love and obsession, making a small but significant name for itself in the guise of tonight’s feature: Phantom Thread.
Helmed (and written) by famed director Paul Thomas Anderson and starring the mighty character actor Danny Day-Lewis, the film is a neat character study centred around a 1950’s fashion house, and how the steadfast routine is thrown into chaos upon the arrival of a new muse and lover, played by the charming Vicky Krieps.
Renowned dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock is at the centre of British fashion; dressing royalty, movie stars, heiresses and dames under the style of ‘The House of Woodcock’. While women drift in and out of Reynolds’ life, providing inspiration and companionship, all are fleeting, until a clumsy waitress, Alma, sparks his imagination. The two quickly become close, and his once carefully tailored life becomes increasingly tattered as their love blossoms.
Both are manic depressive in their own way, both are obsessive, but it takes Alma’s radical action to stir them into action. Part spiritual, part love story, part character study, the film is a huge departure from today’s typical cinema; it is slow, deliberate and calculated in its dramatisation. The acting is off the charts, with both Day-Lewis and Krieps giving incredible performances. So whilst the deliberate pacing, attention to detail and fine craft on show might win the charms of the Academy, the greater public at large might find it a tad stuffy and pretentious.
Phantom Thread 4K PicturePhantom Thread was shot using Panavision Panaflex Millennium XL2 cameras on 35mm film, scanned and finished at 4K resolution used here for this Ultra HD Blu-ray release. The disc presents a native 4K 3840 x 2160p resolution image in the widescreen 1.85:1 aspect ratio, and uses 10-bit video depth, a Wider Colour Gamut (WCG), High Dynamic Range, and is encoded using the HEVC (H.265) codec for both HDR10. We reviewed the Region free UK Ultra HD Blu-ray release of Phantom Thread on a Panasonic 65DX902B Ultra HD 4K TV with a Panasonic DMP-UB400 Ultra HD Blu-ray player.
The scan from the 35mm source has left an indelible print from the original photochemical treatment; this is clearly film - and it is represented in the digital realm by a wonderful transfer that captures that essence. Grain is soft but evident in every scene; medium shots have that slightly soft feel, while close-ups retain detail but have the texture of film; so rare to see in modern discs. Detail is well seen, skin has good texture, clothing, most important in this film, has clear weaves, each stitch is visible, while background shots are well defined with good edges throughout.
This picture is as natural as can be
Colour is wonderfully represented; this is especially true of the many dress fabrics used, the greens, reds and blues almost shimmer with radiance, but appear perfectly natural at the same time. Flesh tones are well rounded and natural, while the stark creams of the house are firm and bright. HDR gives a new depth to the blacks, not only in the shadows but in the fabrics as well. Whereas the white end of the scale fares even better, check out the wedding dress. Indeed the combination of WCG and HDR, along with the native 4K scan, make sure this picture is as natural as can be; no heavy filtering or garish colouring, just pure natural lighting that is lovingly reproduced on this disc.
The source is perfectly clean, with the grain being an integral part of the image, while there are no digital issues to contend with.
Phantom Thread 4K SoundThe English DTS:X surround track, much like the picture, concentrates on naturalism, rather than exaggerated sounds, and it does this by placing the household sounds around the room – such as eating breakfast when Alma is ‘loud’, this is so spot on as to be annoying. The echos around the household, foot falls, general hustle and bustle are excellently placed. Dialogue is clear, precise and sounds very natural, and is never missed in the mix and given occasional directionality. But perhaps Jonny Greenwood’s enigmatic score makes the best use of the surround field, making full use of the speakers to maintain an ambience that is both in the background and part of the furniture. The track is pitch perfect, the layered surround field is not outrageous but restrained and captures the essence of the era.
Phantom Thread 4K ExtrasThe same extras are found on both the UHD and the included Blu-ray
Camera Tests – A look through some of the various film stocks tested out for the film; Paul Thomas Anderson provides the technical commentary.
For the Hungry Boy – Nearly five minutes of deleted scenes with accompanying Greenwood music. House of Woodcock Fashion Show – Narrated by Adam Buxton the fashion show as seen in the film.
Behind the Scenes Photographs - Photos taken by Michael Bauman on many behind the scenes sets, accompanied, this time, by demo versions of Greenwood's score.
Phantom Thread 4K VerdictDanny Day-Lewis and Vicky Krieps give towering performances in this tale of obsessive love set in and around the glamour of 1950’s British fashion design. Director (and writer) Paul Thomas Anderson brings the story to life with deliberate pacing and steadfast character study that is at odds with today’s modern cinema. So whilst it is meticulous in its portrayal of the time and the subject matter, some might find it slow and pretentious.
As a 4K UHD this package from Universal is pretty good. The native 4K picture is a pure representation of the photochemical nature of film; it is detailed, well coloured with good blacks but retains a perfect grain structure – it actually looks like film. While the DTS:X surround track is gorgeous in its representation of the period with a well layered mix, it’s not an out and out surround experience. The extra features, included on the UHD, are, however, very light in nature.
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