Evil record tycoon Swan has sold his soul to the devil for eternal youth and success – 20 years ago. Swan’s current scheme is to steal the music from composer Winslow Leach to celebrate the opening of his rock palace, The Paradise. While trying to stop Swan, Leach is disfigured.
This film is not currently playing on MUBI but 30 other great films are. See what’s now showing
De Palma is nothing if not precise and ambitious: Phantom emerges as a brutally sardonic satire of a bloated, uninspired pop music scene. Its jokes, its music, its cinematic techniques—all are incisive, sneaky rather than stoned.
It’s the ol’ show-biz yarn—artist meets bigwig, crass commercialism ensues—à la De Palma. Expect the familiar beats: split screens, dizzying cinematography, balcony-reaching theatrics and sensationalism. But in a Hitchcockian twist, it’s a musical, one genre De Palma would never touch again, even if it’s one his bombastic style most easily feeds.