Review: ‘The Master’ 
By now, most have come to accept Paul Thomas Anderson as a, for lack of a better term, master of cinema. His films are calculated in every aspect and informed by the entire history of the art form. ‘The Master’ is a stunning opus, and though it may not win everyone over — and may be destined for a less prolific rise than his last work — it will leave an impression on all those who see it.
Regardless of whether ‘The Master’ is actually based on L. Ron Hubbard and the beginnings of scientology, Anderson has weaved an endlessly fascinating story about the search for meaning in life and the ones that sway others by claiming to supply it. It makes a much more grandiose statement about belief and belonging than it does about any specific group. Through small, well-placed drops we get the underlying meaning without it beating us over the head. Until the film’s penultimate moments, when the key title-referencing line of the film is plopped onto us. In that we get an overstated thesis, but a significant one to ponder no less.
Though the 70 mm print may have swayed some of these opinions, the visual style is downright impressive. It’s distinct and measured. Every frame is colored in gorgeous realistic, insanely-detailed tones, with shots composed with great care. The detail is breathtaking and worth the price of admission. The period production design places us into another place and time and the cinematography makes great use of both faces, locations, and set creations.
It’s a wonder then that Anderson manages to get just as much out of his actors as he does of camera, writing, and directing. It helps to have the best of the best, and Joaquin Phoenix is simply working on another level. His immersion in this character and all of its eccentricities and flaws creates another film in itself. Freddie’s journey almost tells a different story than the one happening around him. The film may be his story, but he is unaware. Philip Seymour Hoffman had just as immense of a challenge, maybe even more so and he delivers in spades, often times wrestling the movie away from Phoenix. Amy Adams doesn’t get enough screen time but her shining moments are harrowing and memorable, making you wish there was more of her and what was going on in her head. Rami Malek, Jesse Plemmons* and Laura Dern all put in noticeable support work that shades the many sides of “The Cause.”
*Kudos to the casting director and Anderson for picking up Plemmons. It’s mind blowing how believable he is as Philip Seymour Hoffman’s son. 
In the end, ‘The Master’ is more of a study on a character (Phoenix) and a cult (“The Cause”) than a strictly coherent film. Note that this is completely by design, and though some are going to be turned off by this intention, the film in its individual pieces and moments contributes to what PT Anderson is trying to do. We may be too far out from award season for this to land as hard as ‘There Will Be Blood’, but what does it really matter?

Review: ‘The Master’ 

By now, most have come to accept Paul Thomas Anderson as a, for lack of a better term, master of cinema. His films are calculated in every aspect and informed by the entire history of the art form. ‘The Master’ is a stunning opus, and though it may not win everyone over — and may be destined for a less prolific rise than his last work — it will leave an impression on all those who see it.

Regardless of whether ‘The Master’ is actually based on L. Ron Hubbard and the beginnings of scientology, Anderson has weaved an endlessly fascinating story about the search for meaning in life and the ones that sway others by claiming to supply it. It makes a much more grandiose statement about belief and belonging than it does about any specific group. Through small, well-placed drops we get the underlying meaning without it beating us over the head. Until the film’s penultimate moments, when the key title-referencing line of the film is plopped onto us. In that we get an overstated thesis, but a significant one to ponder no less.

Though the 70 mm print may have swayed some of these opinions, the visual style is downright impressive. It’s distinct and measured. Every frame is colored in gorgeous realistic, insanely-detailed tones, with shots composed with great care. The detail is breathtaking and worth the price of admission. The period production design places us into another place and time and the cinematography makes great use of both faces, locations, and set creations.

It’s a wonder then that Anderson manages to get just as much out of his actors as he does of camera, writing, and directing. It helps to have the best of the best, and Joaquin Phoenix is simply working on another level. His immersion in this character and all of its eccentricities and flaws creates another film in itself. Freddie’s journey almost tells a different story than the one happening around him. The film may be his story, but he is unaware. Philip Seymour Hoffman had just as immense of a challenge, maybe even more so and he delivers in spades, often times wrestling the movie away from Phoenix. Amy Adams doesn’t get enough screen time but her shining moments are harrowing and memorable, making you wish there was more of her and what was going on in her head. Rami Malek, Jesse Plemmons* and Laura Dern all put in noticeable support work that shades the many sides of “The Cause.”

*Kudos to the casting director and Anderson for picking up Plemmons. It’s mind blowing how believable he is as Philip Seymour Hoffman’s son. 

In the end, ‘The Master’ is more of a study on a character (Phoenix) and a cult (“The Cause”) than a strictly coherent film. Note that this is completely by design, and though some are going to be turned off by this intention, the film in its individual pieces and moments contributes to what PT Anderson is trying to do. We may be too far out from award season for this to land as hard as ‘There Will Be Blood’, but what does it really matter?

  1. cmclaire reblogged this from popculturebrain and added:
    Really interested to catch this!
  2. swsmh reblogged this from popculturebrain
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  4. keeepup reblogged this from popculturebrain and added:
    Can’t wait to see this
  5. tatianaxx reblogged this from popculturebrain and added:
    *adding to my fall movie list*
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