When I think back to the cinema that got me interested in the wider aspects of the medium, beyond the constraints of the blockbuster studio pictures, two films come to mind as being pretty important. One of them is Wes Anderson's Rushmore (1998), a great film in its own right and a revelation for a teenage Bill Murray fan, but the one that perhaps left a greater impact – in the long term – was Paul Thomas Anderson's third film, Magnolia (1999).

The breadth of ambition, the sheer unabashed emotion that was placed onto the screen and it's lengthy run time – though it didn't feel anything like its 188 minute actuality, and the move forwards from Boogie Nights (1997) whilst still incorporating – some might call it a homage – his two primary influences of the time, Martin Scorsese and Robert Altman. Scorsese for the dizzying amount of camera movement, tracks, pans and zooms and Altman for the incorporating of sprawling story narratives and multiple characters.

Fast forward on nearly twenty years and he's still beguiling audiences. Phantom Thread takes a different approach and operates under the guise of a prestige picture. It's easy to imagine the members of the Academy licking their lips with glee at the thought of a Paul Thomas Anderson directed, Daniel Day-Lewis starring costume drama. But it's not that at all. Sure, it features both of those elements but it subverts them into something a lot more brutal and dangerous than the traditional tropes of those pictures, as good as they might be.

When it was announced that Anderson was to direct a 'Gothic costume drama', comparisons were quickly made with Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca (1940). Whilst it does contain elements of Hitchcock's classic, it's very much its own thing.

Acting as his own (uncredited) cinematographer for the first time – whilst still utilising the skills of his regular camera and lighting team – Anderson immediately draws us into the 1950's and the controlled – and controlling – world of Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis), fashion designer of whom the whole House of Woodcock dressmaking empire revolves around. It's a world in which many differing female acquaintances have come and gone, each inevitably being dismissed by Woodcock, as on completion of each dress, he discards it and moves on to the next one; as he does with his women.

The real power in the house is held by his sister, Cyril (Lesley Manville). She's the one who deals with the day-to-day running of a fashion powerhouse whilst Reynolds continues to live out a fantasy, resisting elements of change and adhering to his own strict set of rules. In other words, the controlling artist needs to exert control. There are many different interpretations of this that could be taken. Is it Anderson reflecting on his own creative process? Or the general toxicity that lies at the heart of some creatives?

However you want to interpret it, Woodcock's world is turned upside down by the arrival of Alma (Vicky Krieps) whom he meets whilst holidaying. In the moment that the two meet, Anderson tells us everything about their relationship. She serves him food, and he's happy. A thematic start for a very different costume romance.

The camera is important to the feeling of dread that starts to emerge around their relationship. It's classically composed, especially in comparison to the aforementioned Magnolia. In that earlier piece – and especially it's immediate predecessor in Anderson's filmography, Boogie Nights – he's practically daring you to look at the form and composure of film with whip-pan's, elaborate tracking shots and zooms. Here, he's happy to compose in a classic style and one that he's begun to utilise more frequently through the likes of The Master (2012) and Inherent Vice (2014). He's calmer with movement and more languid of pacing -with often hypnotic results. He's using the characters to dictate the feel.

Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood's score is completely different from the Bernard Herrmann influenced soundtracks that have accompanied Anderson's There Will Be Blood (2007) and The Master. This is luscious in comparison, more indebted to classic composers such as Claude Debussy, who's impressionistic and atmospheric soundscapes are reinterpreted here in one of the best motion picture scores in recent memory.

There's one incredible sequence that seems to define everything Paul Thomas Anderson was aiming for with this film. It's New Year's Eve and Alma wants to go out. Woodcock does not, he's happier at home but she doesn't accept this – a sign of his influence over her not being as powerful as other's might have felt. She heads out to a massive party organised by a wealthy associate. Woodcock eventually turns up and stalks through the party to find her, in one bravura tracking sequence, and drags her away. Despite the power and influence he might have over his fashion powerhouse, he cannot wield that over her. She's arguably smarter than he is – and definitely stronger – and takes further, more dangerous methods into play to keep him as a subservient to her love.

Love is the key emotion on display here and in that respect it plays quite well as a sibling to Punch-Drunk Love (2002). That may have been driven by a more surreal, comedic instinct – though Phantom Thread is hilarious in parts and verges quite frequently on black comedy – but it suggests the same thing. You cannot control love.

My own love for this film will probably not be reciprocated by the motion picture academy but it's an incredible film by a singular director who continues to go from strength to strength, one that will be studied for decades to come, as I continue to do with Magnolia.