Normally when it comes to a movie as broad, brilliant and enveloping as The Master, it takes me multiple viewings to really appreciate exactly how extraordinary that which has been bestowed before me actually is. Every passing moment of The Master just served as a reminder of its overall excellence. As I sat and watched this film it was hard not to realize that what I was watching was nothing short of a modern masterpiece.
The Master is just a prime example of a movie that gets everything right. Paul Thomas Anderson is one of the greatest filmmakers to have ever existed and he proves that here again with his sixth film. Since his creation of the epic that is Boogie Nights, Anderson has turned out nothing but masterpieces. The Master is just another Paul Thomas Anderson masterpiece that was completely captivating during every single solitary second of the film.
As with all Paul Thomas Anderson movies, there is no shot out of place. He has such a grace to the way he makes film and with There Will Be Blood and The Master, it seems that Anderson has really come into his own as the masterful storyteller he is. Every single dynamic shot is just breathtaking to look at. There is such purpose to every choice Anderson makes. He knows his characters and his vision and with confidence he just does what he does best and tells a story.
The Master tells a mesmerizing and honest tale about the relationship between two men, Freddie Quell and Lancaster Dodd. Freddie is quite the peculiar character. He’s a drifter and a follower. He’s a confused man who acts on impulse and he sticks to what he knows; fighting, drinking, sex and the sea. He’s finding his way in a post-war world, which leads to a chance meeting with one Lancaster Dodd. Dodd is a leader. Quite literally, he is the “master” of his very own religious following entitled The Cause. Unlike Freddie Quell, Lancaster Dodd is very confident and sure of himself. He is the kind of man who people listen to, whereas Quell is the kind of man who listens. The relationship of these two men is at the heart of this extraordinary drama about choice and control.
The two men are completely different characters and both are played to perfection. From the moment you meet Lancaster, there’s just this enigmatic aura to him. Philip Seymour Hoffman makes it so the character seems important and every line he utters is just another testament to his patience, power and importance. It’s rare for the film to have a scene without its troubled protagonist Freddie Quell and Joaquin Phoenix just became his character. The confused drifter is so incredibly defined through writing and the greatest performance of an amazing actor’s career.
Paul Thomas Anderson is one of the greatest directors to have ever made a film and it’s an honor just to watch one of his movies because he really puts his all in it. The Master is his latest masterpiece and with each of his new masterpieces, he brings something new and spectacularly special to the table. He wouldn’t make a movie if he didn’t have something to say and with The Master he says a lot. It’s a film that spoke to me instantly and as I said before, such a beautiful piece of art must be appreciated overtime. I look forward to doing just that, but for now I can call it what it is, a masterpiece.