Review: The Master

Lancaster Dodd doesn't care about your opinion.
 
Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) has just returned from service in the Navy. He suffers from PTSD and is an alcoholic. He's not above drinking gasoline or house hold cleaners to get a little buzz either. He drifts from job to job and eventually comes across Lancaster Dodd, (Philip Seymour Hoffman) his wife Peggy (Amy Adams) and their family. Lancaster is a leader in a practice (or cult) that uses special exercises to clear emotions, and possibly to look in to past lives. It's all very strange, but Freddie becomes intrigued. Will it save him?
 
Many reviews I've read rave about Phoenix's performance. While he was good, playing a drunk isn't really a stretch for him. Especially if you saw I'm Still Here. This film, in my opinion belongs to Philip Seymour Hoffman. He's perfect as Lancaster. He's inviting, charismatic, and at times horrifying. He's a man that's unwilling to defend his beliefs and makes you wonder if he really is making it all up as he goes a long. Director Paul Thomas Anderson once again delivers a lengthy, but always interesting film. The booming score accompanied it perfectly. My only real gripe with The Master was that the ending fell a bit short. I sort of expected a more shocking of an ending. For example *spoiler for previous PTA films* Daniel Plainview going ape shit on Eli at the end of There Will be Blood. Or Dirk Diggler whipping out his package at the end of Boogie Nights. The end of The Master just felt like it drifted by. It fit nicely with the tone of the film, but I was expecting a bit more.
 
On a side note, there were three little old ladies in the theater that were laughing at just about everything and it made me laugh too. There's a jail scene that's particularly hysterical, then the little things like Kenny from The War At Home playing Lancaster's new son-in-law and the simplicity of Ambyr Childers jumping up and down and cheering for Freddie and Lancaster riding motor bikes that just seemed more amusing than they should've been. It's amazing how contagious laughter can be.
 
Recommended: Yes
 
Grade: B+
 
Memorable Quote: "I believe, in your profession, it's called... 'Nostalgia'." - Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix)

4 comments:

  1. Haha. I haven't seen I'm Still Here yet, but I loved Phoenix's performance in this. Hoffman was terrific as well.

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  2. Glad to read Hoffman stole the show - I love him, Phoenix - au contraire.

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  3. I'm kind of embarrassed to admit that I found I'm Still Here entertaining and well-worth the watch haha.

    I saw this movie about a month ago, and I still have a "draft" of it on my dashboard with nothing written...I still can't put words to what I saw. You're right about the acting, but it can't be denied that Phoenix gave his best cuckoo performance to date.

    ...Lancaster Dodd doesn't care about your opinion. I LOVE that.

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  4. Love Hoffman and Phoenix. I'm really looking forward to this one. Great review.

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