Thursday, May 2, 2013

Great Films of the 21st Century: The Master (2012)

Summary: An alcoholic WWII veteran suffering from PTSD (Joaquin Phoenix) gets involved with a charismatic, self-styled philosopher and healer (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) and his group of followers.

This is an outstanding film by Paul Thomas Anderson featuring powerhouse performances by Hoffman and Phoenix with gorgeous cinematography by Mihai Malaimare Jr. Jonny Greewood’s original score is also fantastic.

It's not surprising this movie didn't get a huge amount of lasting buzz, what with its frank, non-titillating depictions of sex, violence, and anger and the way it, like other works of art, doesn't provide easy answers or guide a viewer by the hand and tell them what to think and feel about the experience. Also, the story's allegorical connection to Scientology, a belief system held dear by many in Hollywood (including distributors and publicists), is unavoidable even if unintentional.

Still, this is the kind of engrossing, complex film that's getting harder to find in wide release, and it is well worth seeking out. My rating: 9/10

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