Written by / 2/02/2014 / 1 Comment / , , , ,

JOAQUIN PHOENIX & PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN IN THE MASTER

An unseen Master and Joaquin Phoenix YEAR: 2010
By the time Joaquin Phoenix’s Freddie Quell, a troubled, boisterous, alcoholic Second World War veteran, discovers that “He’s making it up as he goes” about The Master, a writer/guru named Lancaster Dodd played wonderfully by Philip Seymour Hoffman, you’ll wish he didn't realize it so soon – because Dodd can be hypnotizing and his cure seems legit...

Philip Seymour Hoffman died 2014
But that’s only because Quill is so screwed up to begin with, so as we spend the first quarter struggling through his violently meandering post-war life, when Freddie begins to come around we finally get to know the character we’ve been burdened with thus far...

Gaining flashbacks of a young small town girl Freddie loves, Dodd asks him pointed questions – which need to be answered without hesitation or the blink of an eye (very much like what goes on within an actor's workshop)... This is a pivotal, moving scene bringing two polar opposites together. So what if Dodd’s practice, loosely (or not so loosely) based on Scientology, is really an empty road…

The Master Score: ****1/2
If it can turn a human mess like Quell into more than a mysterious stranger, so be it. He still holds onto his independent strength, only now he has something, or rather someone, to fight for, and it's true that writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson, no stranger to big dynamic and overlong productions, takes advantage of the fact he’s created a cult leader who speaks more than he means and doesn't always make sense, giving the script free reign to meander without a structured plot or purpose.

Even though Hoffman's mesmerizing, mysterious, and earthy turn as the title-bearing focal point, never showing any obvious signs of being a con artist or an enlightened leader, is what the picture's named after, THE MASTER is really about The Follower...

And as the audience witnesses the turnaround of a truly lost soul, they’ll either follow or lose faith. But there’s no denying the dynamic performances of the two lead actors. If anything else, it’s one helluva bizarre, and truly unique and original, buddy bromance.
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1 comment:

  1. Nice review. I'm keen on seeing this even though PTA isn't usually my cup of tea.

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