Movie Reviews: “The Master” (2012)

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Written & Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson.
Starring Joaquin Phoenix & Philip Seymour Hoffman.

“The Master” follows Freddie Quell, a scoundrel, and the result of brutal military service in WW2. He is lost, alone, and while in a drunken fit, finds himself stumbling onto the boat of one Lancaster Dodd, The Master. Lancaster is an author, a leader and a visionary. He takes the broken Freddie under his wing, studies him, loves him, with hopes to reform him, and document it against the naysayers of his work. What results is a gripping, and emotionally dark film.

Writer/Director PTA, has made some of my favorite films including “There Will Be Blood”, “Magnolia”, “Boogie Nights”, & “Punch-Dunk Love.” He works with great actors and knows how to get the very best performances out of them. This film is a shining example of that statement. To watch “The Master” is to be hypnotized by the world it visits upon you. In small moments we can relate to the characters, but mostly they are bizarre strangers that we gaze upon as if attending a carnival. Its raw barbaric emotion can be uncomfortable, but always remains compelling.

I feel like “The Master” is an instant classic, and a clinic on filmmaking. It doesn’t insult the viewers intelligence by filling in all the gaps. It challenges you to understand its motivations and message.

4.0 out of 4.0 stars.

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