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The Master [DVD]

Philip Seymour Hoffman , Joaquin Phoenix , Paul Thomas Anderson    To Be Announced   DVD
3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)

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The Master [DVD] + There Will Be Blood [DVD] [2007] + Boogie Nights [DVD] [1998]
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Product details

  • Actors: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Laura Dern, Rami Malek
  • Directors: Paul Thomas Anderson
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Classification: To be announced
  • Studio: Entertainment in Video
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)



Paul Thomas Anderson's closely observed character study represents a reverse image of its predecessor, There Will Be Blood, in which a prospector (Oscar winner Daniel Day-Lewis) and his protégé (Paul Dano) engaged in an epic battle of wills.

In this more tonally consistent effort, the acolyte takes center stage. Gaunt, tightly wound, and eerily reminiscent of Montgomery Clift, Joaquin Phoenix plays Freddie Quell, an ex-naval officer suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder. Since World War II, he's had difficulty holding down a job due to his hot temper and affinity for paint thinner-spiked potions, but the charismatic Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman in a more subtle, but equally skillful turn) finds him irresistible as a project, a surrogate son--maybe even the shadow self that he normally keeps hidden (Dodd shares Quell's propensity for the occasional splenetic outburst).

Lancaster welcomes him to join the Cause, a movement that recalls Scientology by way of Freud, since he focuses on the elimination of past trauma through a pseudo-psychoanalytic exercise called processing. If he provides Quell with a surrogate family, much like Burt Reynolds in Boogie Nights, his loyal wife (Amy Adams) and cynical son (Jesse Plemons) seem more skeptical.

While participating in their rituals, Quell sails with the group from San Francisco to Pennsylvania, but it's hard to tell whether he really believes or whether he's just going through the motions. The lack of clear-cut conclusions will leave some viewers cold, but you've never seen a performance--simultaneously riveting and repellent--like Phoenix's before. -- Kathleen C. Fennessy

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic cinema, unforgettable acting 1 May 2013
The mid-range star rating for this film is, for me, a glowing endorsement that it's worth a look. In an age where the inoffensive, forgettable or mediocre will guarantee positive reviews, something that divides opinion has got to be worth a look.

For me, The Master is an incredible film - far, far better all round than the director's previous work, There Will Be Blood. The cinematography is stunning from the first shot to the last and the acting performances are nothing short of extraordinary.

Plus, though the story doesn't necessarily have all the answers, there is no question that you'll be thinking about the meaning long after the final credits. A film that makes you think and debate - got to be a good thing.

That said, I think the overall meaning of The Master is fairly clear - and it's summed up in the final scene.

One thing is for sure - how The Master didn't end up sweeping the Oscars is an injustice. The two leads are nothing short of amazing and Joaquin Phoenix delivers a mesmerising performance. Never mind this year, it is acting worthy of an Oscar in any year in recent memory.

And that quality is (very nearly) matched by every other lead.

Sure, for some, The Master won't be to their taste, which is fine, but I found it worked brilliantly both as a film in its own right and as a work of art.

Brilliant stuff.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars MAN IS NOT AN ANIMAL 3 May 2013
By The Movie Guy TOP 500 REVIEWER
Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) is a WWII vet with anger management issues. He is obsessed with sex (more than the rest of us) and loves his drink. After numerous altercations, Freddie ends up as a stowaway on the yacht of The Master, Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman). Dodd is also a hot head who likes his drink and previously had an altercation with Freddie, one that he can't remember, while he can recall past lives. He believes Freddie's familiar face must be from one of them.

Dodd is a cult leader of a movement called "The Cause" which gets it name from the fact that if they used "Scientology" they would get sued. The fact that Hollywood would make what is unmistakably an anti-Scientology film is remarkable in itself.

Freddie is a wild cannon who threatens to derail the movement with his violent tendencies and lust. The Master sees him as a work in progress, one that he must conquer in order to justify his ideas to himself. His family doesn't see it that way. Good acting but the film seemed to be either poorly edited, or written, as the plot lacked proper direction and flow in relationship to the theme...which I am sure it had one if not a dozen of them.

Parental Guide: F-bomb, sex, masturbation, full frontal nudity.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
By Tommy Dooley TOP 50 REVIEWER
Joaquin Phoenix stars as Freddie Quell who is a World War II vet who has served in the merchant navy too. Whilst on active duty he developed a penchant for making magic hooch type mixes to get through the stress and monotony of war. On his return Stateside it is clear that he has been traumatised by his experiences. He has to attend classes for what is now called `post traumatic stress disorder' or PTSD, and it is all a bit basic, so he leaves.

After a succession of down at heel jobs and increasingly erratic behaviour, he stowaways on board the boat of charismatic cult leader, Philip Seymour-Hoffman playing Lancaster Dodd or `The Master'. He has some loyal followers who believe in his theories of time travel regress therapy. It is not long before Quell falls under the thrall of The Master, but as things develop so do the real basis for the relationship and all, as ever, is not what it seems.

To say any more would indeed be a plot spoiler. This is essentially a character study of two people and the main leads both take their character studies to the enth degree making even Mr Day-Lewis seem a bit tardy by comparison when he wears his false beard. The central performances are quite rightly at the heart of this and it is their performances that make this so engrossing. It is also brilliantly framed in nigh on every shot, with use of interesting camera angles.

Writer and director Paul Thomas-Anderson (`There Will Be Blood' and `Boogie Nights') has made a thought provoking and stylish study of the human spirit. This was Academy nominated, but got a no show. I was bemused by it at first as Quell was a bit unlikable and yet I wanted to see what happened to him. This is also a film about, essentially these two men and so is far from a rollicking adventure.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Not a masterly movie... 20 Oct 2014
Not my cup of tea at all, this. I had heard or read somewhere that one of the important people on this film was a friend of Tom Cruise's, and that he had asked his friend if he would alter or eliminate altogether certain scenes, because he felt they gave a false impression of Scientology. To credit, the friend refused to do so. This intrigued me, and as I missed the film in the cinema, I was keen to get it when it was out on DVD. However, I found it SO long-winded and so full of characters in whom I had not the slightest interest, I gave up after about an hour and never finished it to the end. Philip Seymour Hoffman is a good actor, and I have seen him in one or two other films (Capote was one), but in this I felt he was let down badly by the script and probably also the direction. If there is not one single character in a film about whose welfare I care a jot, nothing motivates me to continue to watch, so I didn't. Cassandra
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars not his best but I am still a great P
not his best but I am still a great P.S.Hoffman fan a great miss to the world of film
Published 1 month ago by Bugs
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant
This is one of my favourite films, by my favourite director! Can't wait for Inherent Vice!
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars no plot!
I get what most people are saying, and completely understand why they say it. But that's why I loved The Master - it literally is a character study of Quell and Master and their... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Craig Baxter
1.0 out of 5 stars not sure why this did well at Cannes
Published 1 month ago by P. GOODMAN
5.0 out of 5 stars Good service
Good price and quick delivery, thanks.
Published 2 months ago by ANTHONY SEEGER
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Strange, uneven film redeemed by a astonishing central performance from Philip Seymour Hoffman
Published 3 months ago by Richard Ewbank
2.0 out of 5 stars Overblown
Hoped for much more from this, given the team's pedigree. Got the popcorn going, invited folk around, settled in for what should have been a classic, but oh it goes on. Read more
Published 5 months ago by M. J. Goodman
5.0 out of 5 stars Gift
Arrived promptly. Good condition. Very happy. However, I can't comment on the actual film as this was a gift so I haven't watched it myself.
Published 5 months ago by rosec
2.0 out of 5 stars Confusing and Enigmatic
My husband and I barely understood this film. We watched it to the end, but it was a wasted evening. The only saving grace was the acting of Philip Seymour Hoffman. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Dorothy Baker
2.0 out of 5 stars strange religions
Magnificently shot, expertly acted, the post-war period lovingly recreated -- yet entirely uninvolving. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Dominic Swayne
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