maneleeo’s review published on Letterboxd:
I'm so so glad I've rewatched "The Master". I don't know why I didn't see this the first time around, but this film is absolutely brilliant. Not only it has a crisp, beautiful cinematography with an amazing play between shadows and light (any other person conceiving the film would make it look plain and without appeal, here the film looks like a succession of paitings), it also is incredibily thought-provoking and gets to us as humans, in our most primitive sense.
Freddie Quill is a complete animal. He acts like one, he is violent, he has no understanding of social norms. It's not like he is an anarchist and wants to bring anarchy to the U.K. or sing "God Save the Queen". He simply hasn't that thing inside of him, that thing that makes most people. And he has no problems with that, he knows he is like he is, he knows he needs food, sleep, and sex. It's ok with him. So, when he comes across The Cause and its leader, Lancaster Dodd, it's like a dog who found its owner. Their relationship is completely wild as Dodd has no problem with treating him like most people treat dogs. It's not like he treats him as a young child, it really is the dynamic between the dog and its owner. Dodd even trained him, there are some amazing sequences where Dodd makes Freddie do the same thing over and over again until he is tired and he stops complaining. He hits the point where he simply will do things. He even defends his owner when things seem rocky.
And even the so called Master isn't the one pulling the strings on his own life, his wife, Peggy Dodd, controls most of his actions, she reprimands him when he wasn't well behaved, and let me stop here for a second... What the hell does Amy Adams have to do to win an Academy Award? She gave an amazing performance, but clearly the Academy doesn't want to stay close to "controversial" films like this. Anyway, it's an endless cycle of masters and slaves, ,and what do people do? Some become part of this cycle, others ask questions and try to understand what is actually happening. Freddie Quill doesn't care about what's happening.