Paul Thomas Anderson's THE MASTER
Movie review by Dennis D McDonald
The Master pairs a charismatic cult leader (played by Philip Seymour Hoffman) with an enigmatic loser (played by Joaquin Phoenix). The cult leader adopts the loser into his “family,” intent on making him a test for the evolving personality transformation process that lies at the center of his “movement.”
How their tangled relationship evolves is the basis for the movie.
The Master is engrossing, thought-provoking, expertly acted [an understatement!], very adult, gorgeously photographed, tightly scripted — and challenging.
The bond between the two characters is never clearly explained. Master and pupil (as the title implies)? Or two dissimilar peas in a pod, one reflecting the other?
A clear understanding of their relationship remains tantalizingly just out of reach throughout the film, but that’s one of the intellectual and emotional appeals of this movie. Highly recommended.
Review copyright (c) 2014 by Dennis D. McDonald