Phantom of the Paradise ★★★★½

The more I watch melodramas, the more I realize how particular I'm about them. Melodrama often misses the mark for me, but very rarely with De Palma. His films feel so theatrical. It's like he's in love with the more pronounced and the bigger presences of stage actors. Almost like he has no interest in the more grounded side of cinema and we're lucky for it. His operatic style works perfectly in this glam rock adaptation of the Phanton of the Opera, with a little bit of Faust and Dorian Gray mixed in. The three central performances from William Finley, Jessica Harper and Paul Williams are all great. Finley's relatively regular face does wonders for the tragic figure he becomes. Paul Williams being an actually famous musician effortlessly carries the mythical aura to his role. Jessica Harper nails the ambition of a singer wanting to make it. The narrative sharply critiques the predatory nature of the music industry with the bleak sell your soul to the devil narrative, which is both on the nose and over the top, but also very truthful.