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.
This was the first PTA film I had ever seen. Admittedly, I did not like it much at all the first time around. Since then, I have seen all of PTA's filmography and I have a much better grasp on him as a director.
This time around my feelings have not changed much. I certainly appreciate the film now more than I did before. From a technical standpoint, it's top-notch. It's also beautifully filmed. But I still can't say I liked the movie. While the performances are top notch, I was bored to death watching. I was not interested in the story whatsoever. I didn't care about anything going on. Perhaps one day I'll get it, but for now this is my least favorite PTA film :(
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 am finally caught up on my PTA. The Master kind of swept right over me the first time I saw it, and I didn't get much from it. I enjoyed it much more the second time around. I still find Joaquin Phoenix's performance to be a little too interior to be relatable (until the end), but Philip Seymour Hoffman is so amazing in the film. The way that his darkness explodes out of him three or four times in the movie is so affecting, and it speaks to the connection he feels with Freddie. So glad I revisited this one. Can't wait for what's next.
Read my full review here.
The first third of the film is very good. Anderson captures the post WW2 disillusionment pretty well. It begins to unravel in the final third or so. Just tends to repeat itself and the ending doesn't pack much punch because it happens so abruptly. Looks gorgeous though and has some great shots.
Another quality film from PTA. Its engrossing and captures its time period well. I highly recommend it.
I just can't get into a movie when the characters are all unpleasant and basically assholes. The film is made very well, great performances, nice cinematography, although the script seems to side-step a lot of the more pressing issues with this cult.
I want to like this more, but I just can't. I found myself not caring about the characters after failing to find any kind of redemption in them... but still oddly interested in where the story was heading. If the cult was more defined and if we were able to get more insight into Hoffman's character, I would be more on-board with this film.
Well made. Not interested. Sorry.
On second viewing the film's construction of dichotomies (between rationalism and emotion, civilization and nature) becomes ever clearer and the dueling performances, and performance styles, of Phoenix and Hoffman are a perfect expression of these lofty thematic oppositions, bringing a deeply emotional element to this very intimate relationship.
Phoenix's animal rage and frustration are softened by his childlike beatific moments of pleasure, a balance which makes the character a complex human being, rather than a simple expression of pure id.
Hoffman is an apt contrast to Phoenix in his stern, patriarchal authority, adding to the complexity of the bond between the two men in allowing brief moments of weakness to pierce his controlled exterior that suggest the desperately lonely and insecure man underneath.
It is in this relationship that the film strikes its strongest impact, telling a remarkably emotional potent story alongside the deeper, philosophical themes the film approaches.
"The Master" is not a film of just one idea nor story. It's a story of controlling your own destiny, and the search for family and stability. It also about an end of an era that seems it can't be stop. The creation and final destruction of a bond shared by Freddie Quell and Lancaster Dodd. Regardless of what "The Master" is about in it's full entirety, it is still of one of the most fascinating experiences I had from any film in this recent decade. The cinematography is gorgeous and the story while not always easy to understand nor follow, is never in my view at least, boring or anything less than engaging. And the performances of Joaquin Phoenix…
This drama is written, directed, and co-produced by Paul Thomas Anderson and he gets all the credits with the starring Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Amy Adams. What a journey I was taken on with the story of Freddie Quell (Phoenix), a World War II veteran struggling to adjust to a post-war society. The unlikely friendship between Freddie and Lancaster Dodd (Hoffman), a leader of a religious movement known as "The Cause" was superbly presented giving the audience an opportunity to enjoy good story, good directing, good acting, good cinematography and amazing costumes.
I loved the cinematography provided by Mihai Malaimare, Jr. and the tones given to this enjoyable viewing partly inspired by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. In…
"Maybe we think the same things at the same times."
Joaquin Pheonix: ★★★★★
What I Learned:
When the cult starts to make sense, stop drinking the kool-aid
- 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…