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The Master

March 10, 2013

The Master movie poster

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The Master is beautiful to look at and acted to perfection. Anderson and crew have created a sweeping epic unlike anything you’ve ever seen. However, aside from the technical mastery and acting clinic the movie feels distant. I understood the film and loved several moments but as a whole will never achieve the heights that Punch Drunk Love, Boogie Nights, Magnolia and There Will Be Blood reached. The reason for this is The Master makes the viewer passive as they watch beautiful things unfold. The dolly shots, ocean cinematography and long takes will make any filmmaker jealous but the characters involved never click. You never become immersed because you are too busy appreciating the acting and technical aspects.

Did I get the film? Yes. Did I love seeing Rami Malek (Pacific) and Jesse Plemons (Friday Night Lights)in a Paul Thomas Anderson film? Yes. Did it feel over important? Yes. Did I want to start putting my hands on my side like Phoenix did? Yes!

the master jp

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I dug the character study of two different men and the roles they played in each other’s lives. The scene where Hoffman processes Joaquin Phoenix should be shown to every acting class. Phoenix transforms himself into a feral animal who lives in the moment, loves sex and never avoids a fight. There is zero reason why Phoenix shouldn’t have won the Oscar this year. His thin frame, hunched shoulders and well-defined face carry many silent moments that exhibit PTA’s directing capability.

The Master Joaquin Phoenix

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Phillip Seymour Hoffman exudes confidence and anger as the Master. He is cool, calm and collected yet apt to profanity laced outbursts of insecurity and bottled up anger. You never know much about his mission but his following is always growing. Also, I am surprised that Amy Adams character wasn’t named “Stone Cold” on the IMDB page.

the Master Amy Adams

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The look and acting in the film are fantastic but the movie didn’t gell with me. I felt like I was looking at a piece of art that I appreciated but never clicked with. I remember There Will Be Blood blowing me away and walking out of Punch Drunk Love in awe. After I turned off The Master I didn’t know how to process the film. I wondered it I didn’t get the story or that it was incredibly simple. The fact that it has stayed in my mind a week after watching is impressive.

the Master Phoenix

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If somebody asked me to explain The Master I don’t know where I would start. You’ve probably noticed I’ve said nothing about the plot because I feel like it took second place to everything else. The plot doesn’t matter because it seems like a movie of interconnected moments. The film comes together but it is tied together by a loose thread. It would be hard to recommend because I know a lot of people wouldn’t appreciate it.  However, I know many who would love it. The film will divide the masses and that has to be appreciated. It is not an easy film and I like that. If you love technical mastery and acting clinics you should rent the Blu-Ray, turn off the lights and attempt to immerse yourself in the experience.

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