Saturday, September 29, 2012

"The Master" is an odd film....

“The Master” directed by Paul Thomas Anderson and starring Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams and Laura Dern is a strange film.  Paul Thomas Anderson makes strange films (“Boogie Nights” “Magnolia” “There Will Be Blood”) most of which I felt were very well done.  ”The Master”, however, for me, is in another league.  And not a good league.  Phillip Seymour Hoffman in the lead role is a tour de force as usual and will be nominated for many more awards.  Amy Adams, who plays The Master’s wife, shows a new found intensity that I have not seen before.  There are many scenes in the film where we are looking directly into her eyes as she is speaking and it is a scary thing to behold.  Then there’s Joaquin Phoenix.  It is almost impossible to describe his portrayal of the disturbed ex-seaman, Freddie Quill.  You have to see it for yourself.  My feelings upon leaving the theatre at the end of the film were very confused.  What I had just seen was acting at its best but the way the story unfolded left me underwhelmed and actually a little bored.  The connection between The Master and Freddie was not fully explained so it felt forced that The Master would take in someone like Freddie (a violent, amoral man who had stolen onto his boat in a drunken stupor.)  The scenes with the two men are very powerful, indeed.  However, I was left feeling cheated and a little bit played by the manipulation of the director to make us feel something between the men.  Then there are the long scenes of looking at different characters faces that drag the film down and almost bring it to a stop, plus the almost constant sexual references and nudity, which for me were unnecessary.  ”The Master” is an interesting film that I am sure will cause many discussions and arguments over its content.  I am just not sure that it is worth it.  

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