Saturday, September 29, 2012

Needs Re-Mastering (Film Review: The Master)

"The Master" runs 137 minutes.  You would think by that time Paul Thomas Anderson would have crafted a fine story, but tried as I might, this film had none. Zilch. Zero. Or maybe it wasn't supposed to? Was this movie a two character piece about Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) ? Then why are these characters underdeveloped that we have no real sense of who or what they are? We are supposed to believe that there is this interminable bond between the two of these characters, but how, and why? Throughout the movie, we go through Dodd trying to reprogram Quell, and we see Quell trying to resist him. Sometimes he give in, but ultimately he isn't really drawn to the spell of "The Cause," as this cult thing is called. We don't even know what is the central cause of this cause: it's all so vague, something about getting rid of your past which hinders your present, among other generic pleas. Is this a thinly-veiled expose about The Church Of Scientology? (Anderson was a remember) "The Master" seemed to be closely resembling that of L Ron Hubbard. By credits time, I had more questions than answers, and frankly, did not care. Hoffman and Phoenix give committed performances, though the latter seems like he gave too much commitment. I know this movie is getting raves from critics left and right. I side with the boos it got from the Venice Film Festival.

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