Punch-Drunk Love (2002)

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Released 13-Oct-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Introduction
Featurette-Blossoms and Blood
Featurette-Mattress Man Commercial
Theatrical Trailer-3
Audio Bites-Scopitones
Deleted Scenes-2
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 91:15
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (45:34)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Paul Thomas Anderson

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Adam Sandler
Emily Watson
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Luis Guzman
Julie Hermelin
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music Jon Brion

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 EX (448Kb/s)
Russian Dolby Digital 5.1 EX (448Kb/s)
Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1 EX (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Insecure, shy, repressed and clearly troubled, Barry (the Waterboy himself, Adam Sandler) is making all the wrong moves. He makes speciality plumbing devices in a warehouse in suburban Los Angeles. He has seven older sisters who, while maybe meaning well to some degree, will not leave him alone, and are always pressuring him and ridiculing him. In his desperation to find a connection, he calls a phone sex line, and his troubles just get worse. However, when Barry meets Lena (played exceptionally well by Emily Watson), he finds himself opening up his world to new perspectives where his repressed frustration and anger and his wild and often crazy habits will lead to passion and ultimately love.

    Punch-Drunk Love is a relatively brief character piece by the brilliant writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson (of Hard Eight, Boogie Nights, and Magnolia fame). Unlike his previous work, however, this is fleeting, brief, and all the better for it. Not that I am in any way putting down Anderson’s operatic epics – they are, indeed, some of my favourite films – just that such an approach would not have worked here, and Anderson knows it, as indicated by the relative brevity of this film. However, the transition from grand opera to detailed sketch is handled masterfully.

    While certainly a comedy, this is much more of a quirky comedy in the way in which the recent Adaptation sought high brow intellectual laughs. Although utilising a huge widescreen canvas, Anderson paints a claustrophobic and oppressive world in huge clear spaces by filling much of the picture with absolutely nothing – white-washed walls, painted concrete. You become aware of the desolation in Barry’s life. Then quirky things start cropping up. At first these things are just plain strange, like the harmonium that gets dumped outside his workplace in the early hours of the morning, but they begin to create a bizarre world that becomes funny and finally hilarious.

    Another interesting thing about the film is the way in which it elicits a response from the audience. It is at times so frustrating that you just want to shout at Barry for being such a loser and such a screw up, and worse yet, actively making his life worse for himself in his naiveté and desire to be wanted. You have to admire not only the scriptwriting and direction here, but also Sandler’s acting talent. I know, I never thought I would write such a line, but he is pretty good at portraying this shy, repressed loser with a mountain of anger concealed just below the surface.

    While certainly not for everybody – and even fans of P. T. Anderson are maybe going to have a little difficulty adapting to this piece, which is in such blatant contrast to his other material – Punch-Drunk Love is in my opinion a brilliant piece of work from an evolving artist, and well worth the time.

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Transfer Quality


    Presented in 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced, this is the original aspect ratio.

    The quality of the picture is excellent, although it should be noted that it is very grainy. This was the way it was at the cinema and was obviously an intentional choice by the director. It is still crisp and clear throughout, except for the various film techniques which require blurriness, distortion, and so forth.

    Colours are intensely rich, which is important given how colour is used in this film. It certainly has a high gloss feel which has then been offset by the intentional graininess to create an artistic contrast.

    Shadow detail is very good, although I should point out that there are many instances where minimal or no lighting was used, again with intentional effect. At times, the characters are mere silhouettes or shadows themselves, and then intense light is cast upon them to create a sense of warmth. Two instances when this is most notable is in the early sequences just before the credits where Barry’s features cannot be discerned and then light floods across him, and again later when Barry is at the phone booth, lost in shadow until he finally makes a connection and the light in the phone booth pops on. Very cute and very clever.

    MPEG artefacts are non-existent, although the graininess did create a little bit of low-level noise in the background. There was no aliasing or posterisation or even moire.

    There was a little bit of dirt on the print, and I noticed two slightly distracting film artefacts – a hair in the bottom left corner of the screen at 30:28 and a line in the middle of the screen at 66:40 during a rather integral scene.

    The subtitles are available in English, English for the Hearing Impaired, Russian, Arabic, Bulgarian, Czech, Dutch, Greek, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Slovenian, Polish and Turkish. They are white with a black border, clear and easy to read, and generally convey the dialogue. The subtitles are also available on the bonus special features disc in English, French, Italian, Spanish and Dutch.

    The dual layer pause occurs at 45:34 during a scene change. It is only mildly disruptive.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There are three soundtracks. Firstly, the original English audio in 5.1 Dolby Digital EX. Secondly, a Russian and a Hungarian track in 5.1 Dolby Digital.

    The Russian track, interestingly enough, does not delete the original dialogue track, it merely has a Russian overdub voice over the dialogue. You can still hear the English in the background. This technique has the effect of maintaining much of the ambience of the original English audio track, but it seems kind of artificial at times because you can still hear the English.

    The Hungarian track blots out the English dialogue and replaces it with Hungarian overdub, but this results in a significant loss of ambience and the track sounds thin as a result.

    The original English 5.1 Dolby Digital EX track is superb. First up, dialogue is clear and easy to understand except for when it is intentionally obscured by music or ambient noise for artistic effect.

    The range is fantastic, especially with the score by Jon Brion which not only has an extremely powerful surround presence but also heavily utilises the subwoofer.

    There were plenty of fantastic directional cues and the surrounds were almost always in use to create ambience, even if just the hum of florescent lighting, or the effect of being in a large crowd, or the rumble of traffic.

    The subwoofer gets a mean workout here, not only in the soundtrack, but also in many of Barry’s violent outbursts, and the absolutely deafening motor accident at the very start of the film.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



    All menus are presented in 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced. The main menu has a 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo soundtrack.

Featurette – “Blossoms & Blood” (12:03)

    Presented in 2.35:1, non-16x9 enhanced, 5.1 Dolby Digital, this is a serious of outtakes and alternate angles pieced together with the wonderful hallucinogenic artwork to various pieces of music from the film.

Deleted Scenes

    Presented in 2.35:1, non-16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Stereo, there are two deleted scenes here. The first (7:18) is really an alternate version of the many phone calls made to Barry by his sisters in the early part of the film regarding the party that night. The second (2:25) is a deleted scene where Barry tries to engage with the white trash blackmailers from Utah.

Mattress Man Commercial (0:52)

    Presented in 1.33:1, Full Frame, 2.0 Dolby Stereo, this is a commercial for the Mattress Man, featuring Phillip Seymour Hoffman, that was never used in the theatrical release.

12 Scopitones

    Presented in 2.35:1, non-16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Stereo, this is a collection of twelve tonal pieces ranging in length from between 18 seconds to 90 seconds, using the harmonium and various other instruments, that were used in the film.

Theatrical Trailer (2:21)

    Presented in 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced, 5.1 Dolby Digital, the full length trailer actually gives far too much of the film away. I recommend not watching it before you watch the film.

“Jeremy Blake’s Love” - Teaser Trailer (1:23)

    Presented in 2.35:1, non-16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Surround. Concentrates on the hallucinogenic artwork by Jeremy Blake.

“Eat Tomorrow” - Teaser Trailer (0:33)

    Presented in 2.35:1, non-16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Surround. Replays a scene between Barry and Lena.

Art (2:42)

    Presented in 2.35:1, non-16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo, this is a montage of the hallucinogenic artwork by Jeremy Blake used as bridging pieces between various scenes, set to the Hawaiian music from the film.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The R1 version of this disc is one of Columbia TriStar’s Superbit Collection releases. It has a DTS track and a high-bitrate video transfer for superior sound and visual quality. Although I cannot confirm it, I would suggest that the R4 disc probably has comparable video, and the 5.1 Dolby Digital EX is also likely almost on par with the R1 DTS track. Consequently, the difference would probably be very minimal, and accounting for the PAL versus NTSC trade-off in picture quality, the R4 might still come out ahead. The extras would appear to be identical. On balance then, I would actually call this a draw as there is nothing to really distinguish the two in any major way.


    Punch-Drunk Love is a very quirky and off-beat film. It won’t appeal to everybody, but I loved it. It is bizarre, freaky, oppressive, and frantic, and yet it still manages to have plenty of heart if you’re willing to look.

    The video is outstanding, the only faults being with the source material and not the transfer.

    Sound is excellent and this makes a very good demo disc to show off your system in a way that does not involve scenes with tanks running over people and heavy machine-gun fire.

    The extras are mildly interesting, but did not really assist my understanding of the film in any way.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Edward McKenzie (I am Jack's raging bio...)
Tuesday, August 26, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DVD-RV31A-S, using S-Video output
DisplayBeko 28" (16x9). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver.
AmplificationMarantz SR7000
SpeakersEnergy - Front, Rear, Centre & Subwoofer

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Comments (Add)
Regional Coding Enhancement -
P.T. - Johnny Wadd (i am bionic)
Alan Sandler, Talent? Gimme a break!! -
Adam Sandler, Talent? Gimme a break!! -