People tend to get polarized when they watch Magnolia, what with its extravagant length, grand themes, ambitious storyline and biblical overtones, but it isn’t difficult to understand when critics applaud the movie by pronouncing it as Paul Thomas Anderson’s magnum opus (at least till then). The movie focuses on the strangely prophetical and beautifully interlinked parallel stories on a single day in Los Angeles. Like his previous and heavily laurelled film Boogie Nights, Magnolia too was an ensemble movie if ever there was one – its brilliant array of actors, including the likes of Tom Cruise, Julianne Moore, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, William H. Macy, John C. Reilly and Phillip Baker Hall, have played singularly identifiable and emotionally complex characters on an inevitably tragic collision course. Though the length and rapidly evolving scenarios might seem intimidating, it was a largely gratifying experience for me – yeah, the deeply unsettling and utterly unexpected climax too. And the intense storytelling, with enough amounts of suspense thrown in, certainly made for an involving and a largely engrossing piece of work. The movie was also a testimony to the writer/director’s fascinating vision, skill and versatility, what with his following movie being the delirious black comedy Punch Drunk Love!
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson Genre: Drama/Urban Drama/Ensemble Film Language: English Country: US