A Naval veteran arrives home from war unsettled and uncertain of his future - until he is tantalized by The Cause and its charismatic leader.
Release Year: 2012
Rating: 8.6/10 (746 voted)
Critic's Score: 88/100
Paul Thomas Anderson
Stars: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams
Storyline After returning from the Second World War, having witnessed many horrors, a charismatic intellectual creates a faith based organization in an attempt to provide meaning to his life. He becomes known as "The Master". His right-hand man, a former drifter, begins to question both the belief system and The Master as the organization grows and gains a fervent following.
Cast: Joaquin Phoenix
Sarah Shoshana David
Jeffrey W. Jenkins
Trivia: Jennifer Lawrence Deborah Ann Woll and Emma Stone were considered to play Elizabeth.
The Master in action.
I was fortunate enough to see this film much earlier than most. To me
it seems like Anderson is really hitting his stride with this one. It
was odd to me that upon exiting the theater the thing that I wondered
about most of all is what the hell is he going to do next!
The Master is not an easy movie to sit through, and at times you don't
even know what the movie wants. But then you realize that the movie
doesn't want anything. All it asks is for you to observe. More so than
his earlier films, "The Master" and "There Will Be Blood" really
venture into the realm of the film as being a purely cinematic
presentation of a life. Anderson doesn't pass judgment or any point of
view, he merely stretches the canvas which allows his characters to
speak for themselves.
Yes, there is a beginning, middle and an end, but is there? Do we
really have a sense of catharsis at the end of "There Will Be Blood"?
or do we simply understand "man" a little better?
Anderson insisted, as I'm sure he would say the same for this film,
that "There Will Be Blood" wasn't a metaphor for anything. It was what
it was. No hidden meaning, no sophisticated and often formulaic
subtext. It's simply man. As Hoffman's character says in the trailer
for "The Master" - "But above all, I am a man".
The movie deals with an interesting idea of the leader vs. the soldier,
master vs. slave. It breaks down the anatomy of a relationship so you
may interpret it in any way you'd like.
It's beautifully shot on 65/70mm film which is the way I saw it and the
way I recommend for you to see it if you get a chance to. Feels almost
as if Anderson is giving the finger to the digital revolution by
shooting his film on a resolution so high that digital can only dream
of getting there in about ten years or so.
The acting and the dialog is superb as you'd expect. Phoenix and
Hoffman are on a different level here, especially Phoenix in a role of
a life time. There are definitely times in this film that he completely
disappears into that role. There is also some great supporting work
from Laura Dern and others.
It would be difficult to place this film in his body of work. More than
anything it feels like the natural continuation of what he started with
"There Will Be Blood". Not to say that he will continue on this path
but just that this is definitely a more narrowly focused film than some
of his earlier ensemble work.
I found it to be less engaging than some of his other work and yet
there was never a dull moment. You're always on your toes, trying to
understand what's going on and where the movie is leading you.
It really is simply, just like man, a fascinating piece of work.