27 October 2012

The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2012, USA)

I love PT Anderson films, cults, movies about cults, and Amy Adams, more or less. I don't like Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman annoys me a lot of the time. I've seen this movie twice now. The first time I loved it, and the second time I found it kind of sterile. I think the first time I was so mesmerized by the audacity of it. It really cuts to the quick of that era in America and I was surprised by how transparently about Scientology it was. My boyfriend said Lancaster and Freddie were drawn to each other because they each lived the life the other coveted.

Anyway, Freddie Quell is a WW2 veteran who arrives home completely off his rocker. What discussions of this film don't seem to take into account often enough is that he was likely bonkers before he ever set sail for the South Pacific. He drunkenly wanders on to the boat Lancaster Dodd, founder of quasi-Scientology cult The Cause, is using to sail from California to New York via Panama. They have various misadventures arising from the fact tha they are both insane criminals, basically. I think the supporting cast in the film is pretty good, as is the sound. It's a little disappointing because for me this was the first PT Anderson film that didn't really stand up to a second viewing, although I've only seen Hard Eight once.

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