Of all the directors out there, I have the hardest time analyzing Paul Thomas Anderson films objectively. I look at each Martin Scorsese picture realizing I may not like certain elements; I examine Darren Aronofsky and the films he directs with the understanding his next movie may not be as good as his last, and with any auteur out there I am able to view their films from a certain distance, where I can spot flaws. I cannot seem to do that with Paul Thomas Anderson, and for some time now have tried to figure out why.
Finally, I have come to the realization that, in my opinion, Paul Thomas Anderson exists on another level than any other working director. I haven’t been able to criticize his films because I have found no flaws in his work. It isn’t because my own personal adoration for the power in his direction has clouded my critical vision; it is because my love of each and every PTA picture is warranted. In every case, it can be justified. But what makes Anderson a Master? There are a number of things which combine to make him the closest thing to a perfect filmmaker we have seen.
1. A “Full-Vision” Director
For the sake of argument, let us keep Hard Eight on the side as this debut Anderson film was cropped and marginalized to the point of barely counting as a PTA picture. But his five features beyond Hard Eight, despite certain motivations behind them, were written by Anderson. He has had control over the creative process from start to finish. There Will Be Blood may have been inspired by the Upton Sinclair novel Oil!, but I have read the book and there is hardly anything mirroring the film. Each of Anderson’s films has been a creation from his own mind, with sparse amounts of external inspiration. They are full visions from his mind and the creative process functions in such a fluid manner, nothing feels manipulated from outside sources. And this full-vision functionality of PTA’s work speaks to the confidence he has in what he has to say.
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