» Reviews: The Master

Nathan Schwartz

|    Monday, September 24, 2012

  • Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
  • Producer: Paul Thomas Anderson, Megan Ellison, Daniel Lupi, JoAnne Sellar
  • Writer: Paul Thomas Anderson
  • Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, Laura Dern, Jesse Plemons, Bruce Goodchild
  • Distributor: The Weinstein Company
  • Running Time: 137 min
  • Rating: R
  • Genre: Drama

As a character study, The Master excelled profoundly. In the hands of Paul Thomas Anderson, a master in his own regard, the whole ambiance and pacing of the film were very conducive to the rich exploration of Phoneix’s character and his relationship with Hoffman, who both performed phenomenally. Strongly themed in chaos vs. order, carnal vs. spiritual, volatile vs. steadfast, the film attempts to show how these opposing forces can clash and burgeon (with JQ representing chaos, and PSH as order), and does so quite well.

However, since it was heavily focused on character examination, the story was very meek. There was little by way of narrative arch, leaving the conclusion feeling rather anti-climactic. It’s one of those films where when the end credits start rolling you say, “oh, I guess it’s over,” instead of, “wow, what an ending!”. Also, as a minor point, it would’ve been nice to learn more about PSH’s character.

I would watch this again, just to further understand the themes explored, but it certainly wasn’t the best PTA film I’ve seen. If you want great acting, characters and directing, see it right away. If you want a strong story, however, I suggest you look elsewhere.

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Category: Movies, Rants, Reviews


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