Completely Unique...Beautiful, and Nightmarish Too
11 September 2005
I saw this back when it was new, and it's strange..... At that time, it didn't seem at all remarkable, just another product of the "anything goes" 70's. At that time, it was easily dismissed--just another strange movie in a world full of strange movies.

The film made quite a different impression on me a few years later. I caught it on video around 1990, and was startled, because it became clear that NO ONE had made a film even remotely like it since. This is still the case. "Phantom of the Paradise" stands out. It's comically extreme and consistently tongue-in-cheek, but in the midst of all the laughter, the viewer's heart chips away piece by piece...DePalma baits us with humor, but the real story does its dirty work with ruthless intensity and unflinching truthfulness. There are so many ugly and disturbing moments in this "comedy" that frankly I am surprised at how dark the story is.

It's a satire of the music industry incorporating elements of both "Faust" and "Phantom of the Opera." If you are into its groove, it is watchable, exciting, and clever. It moves with lightning speed, and tells an unpleasant story--it makes you worry about where it will end up going, and then it hurtles towards a bitter ending for all its characters.

Wonderful sad fantasy with dynamite musical score and lyrics by Paul Williams. Immensely entertaining and hypnotic.
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