So I just finished watching Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master…
The Master tells the story of Freddie Quell, a soldier who served during World War 2. After travelling around the world, and trying to find stability, he stows away on a ship owned by a man named Lancaster Dodd. It is revealed that Dodd is the head of a movement known as The Cause, and Freddie becomes a member and incredibly close to Dodd. Over time, Quell’s committment to The Cause is tested, and he discovers things about himself and Dodd’s movement.
It’s PTA. Can’t really go wrong with him, and he nailed it here. A fascinating character study about cults and their ability to prey on the weak.
Great script, great characters and performances (Joaquin Phoenix and Phillip Seymour Hoffman were absolutely amazing as Freddie Quell and Lancaster Dodd), great cinematography, amazing score, etc.
Has all the hallmarks of what makes Paul Thomas Anderson great. Amazing shot composition, dark humour, amazing performances, amazing music. He knows what he’s doing and his portrayl of cults was dead on. The blind dogamtism and eventual deterioration of trust amongst members was deftly portrayed by Hoffman, Adams, Malek, and Dern. The scenes where Dodd becomes agitated when people are calling him on his bullshit or simply curious about his thought process were major highlights.
However, I found the subject matter to be rather…bland. Like, Paul, I love you, but I know cults are bad and predatory. As great as this movie is and as effective a portrayal of cults as it is, I felt like I was being told stuff I already knew.
Overall though, despite it being something I’ve heard before, PTA popped out another banger of a film and he clearly got the cult thing right in this portrayal. Recommended.
9 out of 10