- Director:Paul Thomas Anderson
- Cast:Joaquin Phoenix , Philip Seymour Hoffman , Amy Adams
- Release Date:November 08, 2012
- Running time:136 minutes
- Film Worth:$18.00
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Marking Paul Thomas Anderson’s most cryptic work to date, this brilliantly shot, superbly acted and powerfully challenging film warrants multiple viewings.
Although already controversial for its obvious connections to the religion, the extent to which The Master is based on the foundation of Scientology is amongst the least of the questions raised by this engrossing period piece from director, Paul Thomas Anderson. Technically brilliant and phenomenally acted, it’s a dense, unsettling film that, although not entirely satisfying on first viewing, hints at multitudes of meaning buried deep in every scene.
Joaquin Phoenix is Freddie Quell, an alcoholic, mentally scarred WW2 naval veteran. Adrift in the world, Freddie crosses paths with “The Cause”, a newly founded spiritual movement led by Philip Seymour Hoffman’s loquacious Lancaster Dodd. Convinced – or so he says – that he and Freddie were connected in a previous life, Dodd takes the wanderer under his wing, despite the disapproval of his calculating wife (Amy Adams). We then witness through Freddie’s eyes the evolution of the organisation, even in the face of widespread scepticism and mistrust.
Shot on 70mm film, Anderson’s rich, shadowy visuals work in tandem with Jonny Greenwood’s anxiety-inducing score, reflective of the incongruous place that the movie’s characters inhabit. The dynamic between the hedonistic Freddie and the cerebral Lancaster is utterly electric. Beyond this central core, The Master is somewhat elliptical, revelling in a plethora of possible relationships and situations, many of which never really eventuate. Still, if it’s a little too cryptic to leave the same resounding impression as Anderson’s previous effort, There Will Be Blood, what The Master does possess is a pervasive quality that seeps through your eyes and settles at the root of your brain. Intricate, thought-provoking and more than a little unnerving, it’s deserving of the multiple watches that it will take to unravel its secrets.