The Master

The Master ★★★★½

Performances : 9.7/10
Story : 6.9/10
Production : 8.9/10
Overall : 8.5

The Master is difficult to watch but easy to appreciate. It's easy to see that there's something special going on but it's difficult to put your finger on exactly what that something is.

One thing is certain though, The Master contains some of the best performances this decade. Phillip Seymour Hoffman, who almost always stole every scene he was in, is at his most ferocious here. His passion for his "followers" and for Freddy Quell is worn on his sleeve, and the love between the two men is palpable. Not to be outdone, Joaquin Phoenix is brilliant as the master's troubled right hand man. He shows fear, anger, awe and shamelessness all at once without batting an eye.

This isn't Paul Thomas Anderson's masterpiece. I think it's far too early in his career to say that. I wouldn't begrudge someone for disagreeing with me though. Every shot in this film means something, every single line of dialogue. I think that devotion to a film is important, and sadly I feel that it's something that most directors don't care about anymore. Paul Thomas Anderson isn't most directors.

On the side...Anderson has almost always had a spot for Hoffman in his films, even if it wasn't the biggest role. From the craps player in Hard Eight to Scotty in Boogie Nights and the crooked mattress salesman Dean Trumbell in Punch-Drunk Love; Hoffman took every scene he was given, even those small ones, and made the memorable. I think that's what makes an actor great and I'm going to miss that the most.

Thomas liked these reviews