The Master

The Master ★★★★★

I saw The Master last night, and even after sleeping on it, and thinking about it quite a lot today I'm still running it through my mind, trying to process it. (pun intended)

I thought this was long gone out of cinemas, and was going to have to wait for the DVD to see it, but as it turns out the TIFF Lightbox theatre here in Toronto was still showing it, and not only that, but in 70mm no less.

The first thing to say about the film, the thing that strikes you from the opening shots is that this is one of the most beautifully shot films of the year, rivalling Skyfall for it's cinematography and use of colour. PTA's films have always been quite stylish, but in this respect, The Master might be his best.

It's a sad thing that Joaquin Phoenix has been in so few films since Walk the Line back in 2005, because he really proves here what a powerful screen presence he can be, how much he immerses himself in his characters that you completely forget that your watching a performance at all. His slurred voice, and contorted posture could be seen as gimmicky and fake, but he makes them believable and real.

Philip Seymour Hoffman matches him in an equally praiseworthy performance as Lancaster Dodd, continuing a career-long streak of great performances. I don't know if it's even possible for him to give a bad one. He takes a figure that could easily be unlikeable, and really pulls back the layers to show the ticking mechanisms going on inside his head.

I'll be thinking about this one for quite some time to come, and it will probably need a rewatch later on to really come to terms with, but the one thing I am sure of, is that if you haven't yet, go see The Master. It doesn't disappoint.

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