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There is a single image I remembered from seeing this film the first time when it came out: Adam Sandler standing in his oddly blue-coloured suit, holding his cup of coffee, outside the warehouse that is his company headquarter. Hard as I tried, nothing else. And even when watching it for a second time now, looking out for bits of memory, nothing came up. I have not seen that film before. I have, of course, but may it be that the  queer nature of the story, the visual goofiness, the sometimes psychedelic imagery do not make for a memorable movie experience … unless you put it into the context of this great film maker’s oeuvre, as I did.

You easily recognise the no-compromise approach of Anderson to epic storytelling even in the confines of this little love story with a twist. The opening alone, with a crashing car and an abandoned harmonium, feels like a film school student really wanted to go for the uncompromising way: you think I am going to tell the audience what to make of it? Think again, this is post-modern cinema!

Maybe, in other words, the film is a bit pretentious? It almost certainly is, albeit in an entertaining way. You are distracted from the love story by the crime plot, or the other way round, and the thriller elements are disrupted by comic relief, often slapstick. Does it fit together? It does, in a way, but I felt slightly distanced, I did not feel the love for the movie again that I seem to remember having taken away after first  watching it. Still: Adam Sandler in the chains of a not-really comedic thriller love story is good for Adam Sandler, whom I only liked in one other film, the one where he plays Adam Sandler experiencing a fatal disease… what’s it called “The Comedians”?

An odd piece of work, all in all, with a lot of contextualisation necessary to really enjoy it – still: it’s possible, I did like it, but maybe will not fall in love with it again. Maybe old age on my part…

www.rottentomatoes.com/m/punchdrunk_love/

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