The Master 2012

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(101) IMDb 7.1/10
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Paul Thomas Anderson writes and directs this Academy Award-nominated drama about a US Navy veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder who seeks salvation in the company of a charismatic cult leader. Joaquin Phoenix stars as Freddie Quell, a troubled drifter who arrives home to post-WWII America shaken, disillusioned and fearful of the future. A raging alcoholic, Quell cannot begin to make sense of his deeply-rooted inner torment, let alone surmount it. When he meets Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman), the 'master' of a cult called The Cause, an intense and ambiguous relationship develops between the two men. But do Dodd's teachings hold the power to turn Quell's life around?

Starring:
Amy Adams, Rami Malek
Rental Formats:
DVD, Blu-ray

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature ages_15_and_over
Runtime 2 hours 24 minutes
Starring Amy Adams, Rami Malek, Philip Seymour Hoffman, David Warshofsky, Jesse Plemons, Laura Dern, Joaquin Phoenix
Director Paul Thomas Anderson
Genres Drama
Studio ENTERTAINMENT IN VIDEO
Rental release 11 March 2013
Main languages English
Discs
  • Feature ages_15_and_over
Runtime 2 hours 24 minutes
Starring Amy Adams, Rami Malek, Philip Seymour Hoffman, David Warshofsky, Jesse Plemons, Laura Dern, Joaquin Phoenix
Director Paul Thomas Anderson
Genres Drama
Studio ENTERTAINMENT IN VIDEO
Rental release 11 March 2013
Main languages English

Customer Reviews

3.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 37 people found the following review helpful By JD on 1 May 2013
Format: Blu-ray
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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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Tommy Dooley TOP 100 REVIEWER on 13 Mar 2013
Format: DVD
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 of 1 people found the following review helpful By W. Rodick TOP 500 REVIEWER on 14 Feb 2014
Format: DVD
Very interesting story of two men who need each other. One is the articulate control type, the other a free agent without direction.

Both are addicted to their own cause. Seymour-Hoffman's is up-front bravado whilst Pheonix is the secretive underground chemical stimulator. They blend very well.

If this film has the subtext of Scientology then Scientology is nothing more than words to follow around a charismatic leader. Hollow words. Firm leadership.

I was especially pleased that the free agent wins the day. Using the Cause and then dropping it as he sees right through it and its empty leader. Give a free agent a motorbike and he will just keep going.

Sex. Ignorance. Compliance.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By GlynLuke TOP 500 REVIEWER on 5 Feb 2014
Format: DVD
By the end of this worthily if wearyingly impressive film, I was beginning to get restless.
The great Philip Seymour Hoffman (now so tragically gone from us) adds to his gallery of mesmerising performances as the titular Master, with the always worth watching Amy Adams as his pregnant wife, who more and more appears to be the `power behind the throne`. Both are terrific.
Joaquin Phoenix here looks like a half-starved cross between Montgomery Clift after his accident and a shorter, more mannered Daniel Day Lewis (coincidentally the star of maverick director Paul Thomas Anderson`s previous film, the far more coherent There Will Be Blood). Don`t get me wrong, Phoenix is a man champing at the bit - he`s Brando, Clift & Dean here, you name it - but his loping, twitchy take on Freddie Quell, ex-soldier on the loose, gets wearing, and I`m not sure it isn`t merely a fascinating character in search of a better film, better script, and a better reason for existing.
The wonderful Laura Dern is wasted in a too-small role of a follower of the cult set up by the Master (which, despite denials, looks like a disguised Scientology) and too many of the characters are either left stranded by the director or given plenty to do but with too little reason for their actions.
It`s one of those `loaded` films where I can`t help thinking that one vital ingredient is missing: real life. This is a story that needed to be told, but it could have been either much more visceral and less like an American art-film wanting to please, or a more open-ended, Altman-like ramble, which might have given Phoenix, Hoffman, Adams et al more room to let rip.
That said, Hoffman is superb, Adams is near-perfect, and Phoenix is, despite my above concerns, brilliant. I just can`t help wondering: to what purpose?
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