“Paul Thomas Anderson: From a Distance” is short compilation film by Jacob T. Swinney, who has compiled together the long shots used by filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson from scenes in the films Hard Eight, Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Punch-Drunk Love, There Will Be Blood, and The Master, all of which create a unifying sense of loneliness and isolation.
The characters in the films of Paul Thomas Anderson share many similarities. They come from dysfunctional families, they are desperately seeking acceptance, they let their emotions get the best of them, and the list goes on. But a similarity that seems to especially stand out is a sense of isolation. Anderson’s characters are adrift, looking for someone or something to connect with in their lonely worlds. This idea is expressed visually through the use of long/extreme long shots. We are often presented with characters lost within the frame, and therefore have trouble connecting with said characters–we become isolated ourselves.