Recently, I've become aware that certain films are able to transcend the medium by being completely self-assured in their atmospheres…
Every Man Needs a Sub Dig Guide
A 1950s-set drama centered on the relationship between a charismatic intellectual (Lancaster Dodd) known as "the Master" whose faith-based organization begins to catch on in America, and a young drifter (Freddie Quell) who becomes his right-hand man. After returning from the Second World War, having witnessed many horrors, Dodd creates a faith-based organization in an attempt to provide meaning to his life. He becomes known as "The Master". Freddie, his right-hand man, a former drifter, drifts through a series of PTSD-driven breakdowns. Finally he stumbles upon a cult which engages in exercises to clear the emotions. He becomes deeply involved with them, and begins to question both the belief system and The Master as the organization grows and gains a fervent following.
It doesn't happen often that all elements of what comprises film reach such a high level as with The Master. It brushes with perfection on so many an occasion which left me in complete awe for everyone involved in making this, but mainly because of the three main offenders; Phoenix, Hoffman and Anderson.
Paul Thomas Anderson is unmistakably a unique, powerful and resounding voice in cinema. Whenever he creates, something happens among lovers of film. Whenever he speaks through this wonderful medium I just have to listen. And while not all of his tales are equally impressive, they are always unique in style, content and themes. I find it amazing that a director who has received so much acclaim…
Paul Thomas Anderson is The Master. He is a filmmaker with grand visions, a director whose loyal followers pour over every word and dissect every scene and a writer who explores the failings and extremes of Man. Above all he is a hopelessly inquisitive man always striving forward and never burdened by contemporary fashion. And just like Lancaster Dodd, the charismatic false prophet at the centre of this film, his latest work is his most challenging, dense, contradictory and elusive to date.
Each new Anderson film is accompanied by unrealistic expectation. It would not be hyperbole to suggest he is one of the last truly great American filmmakers still at the peak of their creative powers. Yet with such a…
I'm not sure at this point that I can actually separate the circumstances under which I saw this film with the film itself.
When I got to the theatre, I wasn't expecting to see The Master. I had bought tickets to see Baraka in 70mm; I knew that there was a sneak peek going on that day, but I had assumed it was happening later, after Baraka. It wasn't until I picked up my tickets and the ticket lady asked if I was excited or bummed out, that I found out that I was about to get to see The Master.
Sitting in the audience, I wondered, how crazy would it be if PTA were there?
IT WAS REALLY FUCKING…
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
I find it hard to step back and take a critical look at The Master (or any of Paul Thomas Anderson's films, for that matter). Sometimes, films (or albums, or novels) just resonate with you, and you become emotionally attached to them. Sometimes you latch onto them so tightly that it takes years for the joy of the experience to fade and you can appropriately and fairly judge them. Your mind hears other people's criticisms and works to defend them, however tangential, frivolous, and contradictory those defenses might be. That feeling has not yet faded for Magnolia, so I think I've got a few more years of The Master-worship in me.
The most common complaint…
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say this is PT Anderson's best film yet. Yes, I think it's even better than There Will Be Blood. It's his most challenging, dense, and assured work to date. It forces you to look inwards in order to connect on an intellectual and emotional level, but it also challenges you to contemplate the entirety of human nature and what drives us. Just like PT Anderson's other films, it's extremely rich thematically, exploring control, power, regret, loneliness, action, belief, and truth. It's dense, but it's rewarding.
To say this film is stunning is a gross understatement. The richness of the picture is something that probably has to be seen on the…
Sometimes you know you've seen something transcendent and amazing without fulling understanding what the hell happened.
REALLY really interesting. A strange convergence of a lot of books and films and things has been occurring recently. The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson begins with a discussion around Scientology and the issues they have with psychology/psychiatry. It was fascinating to watch this film and I really enjoyed it with my usual enthusiasm for 'true' perspective stories.
Joaquin, Hoffman (sob, sniff) and Adams were brilliant and completely true to their wonderful form. There was a clarity to the performances which was interesting when you see how muddled everything was for all of them.
While the title, 'The Master', refers to Philip Seymour Hoffman's character Lancaster Dodd (I think), the real concern I have is over which actual person who contributed to this movie to call the Master, because everyone, from the actors to the director/writer to the cinematographer to the composer have all shown themselves to be masters of their trade with this movie.
'The Master' stars Joaquin Phoenix as Freddie Quell, an ex-soldier suffering from PTSD who, having become a drifter, stumbles across Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman), the creator of a faith-based organization called "The Cause". Dodd, known as "The Master" by members of the organization, allows Freddie to join. As Freddie gets deeper into the religion, he begins to question…
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LIKE ITS TITLE CHARACTER, THIS MOVIE FAILS TO FOLLOW THROUGH
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THE MASTER asks serious philosophical questions about what motivates and drives us, as a species of pack-hunting animals, not unlike dogs (we worship "alphas," we crave a sense of belonging, etc.).
But THE MASTER offers just a muddled hodgepodge of answers, that aren't explored with deep concern or care. I can't stress enough how disorganized this film's effort is, to try answering its big questions. What disjointed screenwriting!
As if to distract us from its weak screenwriting, THE MASTER has lots of striking visuals with inventive camera angles, interesting gamma…
First watch for me (I've been holding out for a screening since missing it during the initial cinema release) and the film didn't disappoint.
Three overriding thoughts after seeing it:
Felt an overwhelming sense of sadness throughout seeing the late, truly great, Philip Seymour Hoffman up there
The Brando comparisons re: Joaquin Phoenix are completely
justified. What an incredible, transformative performance.
Paul Thomas Anderson doesn't give a shit about conforming to expectations or a linear career progression. He's a true artist doing what he wants to do. The lack of traditional cinematic language (eg: establishing shots, reaction shots, the positioning of non-diegetic sound) is incredibly thrilling to observe.
This mayyyy be a perfect movie?
The acting and direction are so good it's almost painful. Watching Phillip Hoffman dominate on screen makes me openly weep that we'll never get a chance to see him do it again.
Just know that it's a character study and it lacks a traditional narrative which means my wife hated it.
- Only God Forgives
- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
- Spring Breakers
- A Field in England
- The Racket
- 7th Heaven
- Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
- Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness
Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!
- Eyes Wide Shut
- Speed Racer
- Marie Antoinette
- Spring Breakers
Peeping Tom, Night of the Hunter and a whole host of older films were ignored or given bad reviews upon…