Paul Thomas Anderson is not timid. Whatever he’s making a movie about – a family of surrogate pornographers, the shadowy inner workings of a cult, a father-son relationship nourished by gambling – he dives right into it headfirst. While it’s hard to argue that the director’s disposition has become dreamier and less contained with his last two pictures, Anderson remains a director whose work is emotionally immediate and charged with intelligence and a deep feeling. Not surprisingly, he’s a big fan of the E.C.U., or the Extreme Close Up, as it’s more commonly known. It’s a motif that has appeared in nearly all of the director’s movies, from “Hard Eight” to “There Will Be Blood” all the way to last year’s “Inherent Vice,” and now we have a new supercut that highlights the auteur’s most memorable uses of the shot.
Anderson’s very particular cinematic outlook was already firmly in place by the time “Boogie Nights” elevated him to the Next-Big-Thing status of the late 90’s, and the director allegedly worked tirelessly to perfect his now-signature method. On the director’s commentary track for “Boogie Nights,” Anderson tips his cap to “The Silence of the Lambs,” directed by his old mentor/ pal Jonathan Demme, for being the first time he ever saw an extreme close-up done in what he believed to be the right way.
“I loved extreme close-ups for the longest time,” Anderson notes “…but for some reason, I always felt like, ‘No one is getting it exactly the way I want to see it – the way I want to see an extreme close-up.’”
Anderson, as a filmmaker, possesses a tactile hand for capturing detail. Whether it’s the smoked-out, paranoia-infused surf shacks of “Inherent Vice,” the gaudy San Fernando Valley interiors of “Boogie Nights,” “Magnolia” or the stark, godless frontier of “There Will Be Blood,” Anderson always makes you feel his films. This supercut is a terrific primer for those who are in the enviable position of checking out his body of work for the first time, and also great viewing for fans. Watch below. [via Live For Films]