Austin Burke’s review published on Letterboxd:
PTA list coming🔜
So I was honestly under the impression that I had seen this entire film until I realized that I couldn’t remember large chunks of the movie. I start watching what I believe to be an impressive narrative, but there is something in the back of my mind telling me this could end up being too convoluted. We are witnessing a lot of different stories happen, and I’m curious how it’s all going to tie together. Little did I know that I should just do what all good movie-buffs do and place my faith in PTA. This film is an epic mosaic of interrelated characters in search of love, forgiveness, and meaning in the San Fernando Valley. The cast in itself is fantastic on paper, but they are even more impressive in front of the camera.
Tom Cruise has to be the highlight for me, as he delivers (possibly) the best performance he has ever given. He may not be giving us the physicality that we are used to seeing, but he is pulling out pure emotion from a place that I have never seen him go before. He is next level here. Everyone is great though, as Moore, Hoffman, Macy and Reilly are standouts. Reilly has always struck me as a “comedic yet emotional when he wants to be” actor. He further proves that point here. The biggest challenge (to get past) here is length and pacing. Three hour films can sometimes be a bit much, but this has to be one of the easiest three hour experiences I have ever had. It absolutely flew by.
It could have been the elegant combination of music, script, and camera-work, but I believe it was the pure insanity of the plot. The dialogue is phenomenal, but it’s the fact that this story leads to where it leads to; that’s what really caught me off guard. It’s unlike any other film. It’s a thread of what almost feel like short stories, but they all somehow manage to intersect. Maybe every storyline doesn’t feed into the next, but everything is placed here for a thematic purpose. It’s fascinating to watch. It’s a rich and fulfilling experience, but it’s one that will leave many dry. It mostly comes down to embracing what happens in that third act. Do I understand the significance, or was it too on the nose? I felt it achieved exactly what it was trying to, and I applaud everyone involved for pulling it off. PTA is one of the best in the business for a reason, and I’m happy to report that I thoroughly loved this film.