Writer: Paul Thomas Anderson (Screenplay)
Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Ambyr Childers, Rami Malek, Jesse Plemons
Plot: A Naval veteran arrives home from war unsettled and uncertain of his future – until he is tantalized by The Cause and its charismatic leader.
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Missed Opportunity
Story: The Master starts as we follow the naval veteran Freddie Quell (Phoenix) as he returns after World War II, he struggles to find a place after what he has been through working as a photographer at a before moving on to a farm job. Struggling with everyday life after the war Freddie finds himself on-board a boat, the boat offers him a chance to meet Lancaster Dodd (Hoffman).
On-board the ship Freddie learns that Lancaster is leading a cult like group of people that believe each moment on all lives lived are able to be communicated and Lancaster sees Freddie as his protégé. As the group gathers momentum we see how Freddie is embracing where he is within the cult but will his nature push the limit of how the Master sees him.
The Master is a drama showing the slow rise of a cult like group that should be one of the more compelling stories out there, the problem is that it comes off very slow and you never really believe the cause they are trying to bring together. The acting can’t be questioned but everything just feels very messy and almost never goes in a direction that makes much sense. I may have misunderstood the film in which case I do apologise but in all honesty I didn’t enjoy this story.
Philip Seymour Hoffman: Lancaster Dodd is the leader of ‘The Cause’ he has the power to pull people into his belief and sees Freddie as a protégé what could continue spreading the word. We can see the comparison of Scientology with this character. Philip is great in this role as you would expect from the late great.
Joaquin Phoenix: Freddie Quell is a Naval veteran of World War II, he is struggling with life once he has returned but when he ends up on Lancaster Dodd’s boat he joins The Cause as the protégé to the Master. He is aggressive and easily switched into a fight mode. Joaquin shines in this role showing the full range of emotion needed.
Amy Adams: Peggy Dodd is the wife of Lancaster and firm believer in the Cause so much so that she does have a big say in what is going on behind the show Lancaster puts on. Amy is also good in this role standing strong next to the leading men.
Support Cast: The Master has a strong supporting cast that all do a great job in a film where acting isn’t the problem.
Director Review: Paul Thomas Anderson – Paul is a director that has given us some of the best films we have ever seen but this time I feel the film gets dragged down with a slow story.
Drama: The Master is a drama that doesn’t seem to get enough out of the potential story it has but can’t have anything bad to say about the acting.
Settings: The Master doesn’t have any memorable settings trying to make us feel like a cult could be raised within your local neighbourhood.
Suggestion: The Master is one film I think people would like but I can see many people like myself not enjoying this. (Try It)
Best Part: The acting.
Worst Part: The Story
Chances of Tears: No
Chances of Sequel: No
Post Credits Scene: No
Oscar Chances: Nominated for 3 Oscars
Budget: $32 Million
Runtime: 2 Hours 24 Minutes
Overall: Brilliantly acted but such a slow moving story.