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42 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic cinema, unforgettable acting
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...
Published on 1 May 2013 by JD

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars MAN IS NOT AN ANIMAL
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...
Published on 3 May 2013 by The Movie Guy


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42 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic cinema, unforgettable acting, 1 May 2013
By 
JD (Salisbury, Wiltshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Master [Blu-ray] (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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Piece of Master not Masterpiece., 3 April 2015
By 
Mr. G. Morgan "wes" (Haywards Heath, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Master [DVD] (DVD)
I love Anderson's work, but despite the superb acting, the overall impression remains that this is an oblique attempt to dramatise an L. Ron Hubbard-like figure. No doubt some of the obliquity is due to the litigiousness of L.R.H.'s 'church', but perhaps then it ought to have been less directly suggestive of the Meister Scientologist - either that or take the Dianeticians head-on and damn the torpedoes! As it is, the story is at once too close to yet also far from its target and ends up in a sort of narrative limbo comprising many brilliant set-pieces but which is not quite convincing as a whole. There are too many misfires for this to have a satisfying arc, as a film. Phoenix is especially good though, Hoffman always so and Amy Adams beguiling;. My favourite scenes involved Phoenix as less-than-ideal shop assistant, both in the absurdist motorbike-in-the-desert farce and the one in which some of the Followers were deshabille; there was a hint of something not-quite revealed here, psychologically very suggestive (don't laugh!). But no, it's not a great film by Anderson's high standards, it lacks the power of 'There will be Blood' and 'Magnolia'. Many in the cinema I watched it (in Oregon), found it baffling, enigmatic as did I and still do. He remains my favourite contemporary English-language director but this isn't as gripping as most of his other films. This is not one of his most coherent, compelling films, perhaps due to what I suggested, and is stolen by the quite remarkable Joaquin P..
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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 "Movies from A to Z" (United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Master [DVD] (DVD)
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
4.0 out of 5 stars Stylish and Engrossing Character Study of a Cult Leader and Protégée, 13 Mar. 2013
By 
Tommy Dooley "Tom" (London, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Master [DVD] (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. The supporting cast are all top rate too and I could not spot a single dud performance, the attention to period detail is spot on and even at 2 hours and 24 minutes it held my attention through out. It will not be for everybody but I found it almost addictive and is one that you will come back to think about, lovers of Paul Thomas-Anderson's previous work will definitely want to see this.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Marmite film if ever there was one, 15 Jan. 2015
This review is from: The Master [DVD] (DVD)
Ways this film is like marmite; they are both an acquired taste, they have a powerful content, they are colorful (marmite's packaging) and they evoke a strong reaction.

I have only seen this film once but I hope to see it again soon because this film has allot of layers which deserved to be peeled open.

Music - emotive and compelling.
Cinematography - bright, brilliant and beautiful
Dialogue - thoughtful but realistic.
Acting - flawless.
Characters - interesting and flawed.
Sets and costumes - pitch perfect.
Mood - serious and somber.
Story - original and non-linear
Target audience - those interested in psychology (what post traumatic can do to you), cults and what great acting is.

I have a huge respect for the film but I enjoyed it less than I though I would, due to it being darker (some of the treatment of the characters made me feel uncomfortable which took me out of the movie slightly) and serious than my expectations. However; I look forward to seeing it again and see if I can peel back the layers to this genius film.

All in all; I think everyone should see this movie because it is unique, provocative, beautiful and can start a conversation which is always a good thing.

Content warning; there is full female nudity, sex and foul language but no blood.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Drifting Too Far From Shore, 28 Sept. 2013
By 
Charles Vasey (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Master [DVD] (DVD)
It is rare to fear for the life of the leading man (The Machinist being the last example) but Joaquin Phoenix reaches into the very soul of his character - a wrecked ex-sailor with a taste for serious alcohol - and as he gets thinner and more gaunt his resemblance to a death-head increases. He has not only played Johnny Cash, he has become him but with no June Carter. Into this wrecked life comes the admirable Philip Seymour Hoffman becoming (as ever) the cynosure of our attention peddling his brand of rambling regression therapy. Why do these two opposites attract, does either really believe the other, how much of what we see happens and how much is imagined; Paul Thomas Anderson is not the chap to let on, and you'll have to fill in the gaps yourself. In asking this of his audience the director may have gone one step beyond. The film may or may not be about Scientology (the suggestion at least provides some background for gap filling) but it certainly about that generation who came out of the war with some serious addictions and a lot of trauma. If it drifts then it does no more than track them in that drifting.
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71 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A film that warrants responses, 18 Nov. 2012
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This review is from: The Master [DVD] (DVD)
THE MASTER
(dir Paul Thomas Anderson/143 mins)

This is a spoiler-free review.

Rarely does a film arrive so wet with critical saliva, though, like marmite, Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master is dark, distinctive and divisive. Some will hail it as genius, some will leave the cinema wishing they'd stayed home and watched Boogie Nights on DVD. Either way it is sure to provoke a reaction. Personally, I loved everything about it (although the same sadly cannot be said for marmite).

Yet, I can't recommend it. I simply can't. I could never confidently look a friend in the eye and assure them that this is worth seeing. I couldn't even tell them what it was about, let alone its genre. There's no `Well, if you liked this film, you'll be sure to like The Master' analogy to be made here because it defies comparison, eludes classification and is like no other film I've ever seen because Anderson makes no attempt to befriend his audience. Such a rebellious approach can be alienating, but it also proves exciting and rewarding as a viewer, because seldom do directors dare to make origami out of the rulebook in such a thrilling way. His narrative is fractured and drifting, as aimless as Freddie Quell (a career best performance from a superbly contorted Joaquin Phoenix). The ever excellent Philip Seymour Hoffman plays Lancaster Dodd, the eponymous and charismatic Master; whose subtle, seamless seduction of Quell and the other members he recruits to his Cause mirrors Anderson's relationship with us as an audience. Arguably, it is he who is the true Master here.

I stumbled out of the cinema feeling much the same way as I do whenever I see a David Lynch picture - almost dizzy, almost drunk, as if I have just woken from a troubled sleep, nursing an intense hangover, unable to quite come to terms with or make sense of what I've just witnessed, still haunted and fascinated by my nightmare. The outside world takes time to come back into focus, slowly bleeding back in as I gradually recover. I'd forgotten all about the existence of human life, forgotten about roads and pavement and traffic. This is very much the sign of a good film, if you ask me. I look forward to revisiting this particular nightmare again on DVD.

Whether or not you'll feel the same is impossible to say...
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Master is a masterpiece., 24 Mar. 2013
This review is from: The Master [DVD] (DVD)
A real piece of film created for once, this is a challenging but richly rewarding film. Fantastically directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, some of the best acting you're likely to see by Joaquin Phoenix, Phil Hoffman and Amy Adams and one of the best scores ever by Jonny Greenwood. This film DEMANDS more than one watch, there is so much going on the film and its utterly great. Buy, watch.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superlative Acting, 31 Oct. 2014
This review is from: The Master [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
One of my favourite films with superlative acting from the two leads, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix. Bot actors are in their element in a dam good story loosely based on L Ron Hubbard and Scientology. Phoenix falls under the spell of the "Master" played by Hoffman who runs a cult. Beautifully filmed you will not be disappointed at watching two actors at he top of their game, in my opinion the BEST film both have made and more than worthy of joint Oscars
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4.0 out of 5 stars good film, but not a masterpiece, 3 May 2015
By 
Daniel Dalton - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Master [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Joachim Phoenix and PS_Hofmann are magnificent, as so often. The movie is promising, but ends up almost turgid, and definitely anticlimactic. It's an interesting study of cults, and human need for meaning and leadership, but whereas Magnolia took on an almost more challenging subject and allowed a rolling yarn to carry the thoughtful parts, this movie perhaps misses out on the storyline, despite a more digestible context.
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The Master [Blu-ray]
The Master [Blu-ray] by Paul Thomas Anderson (Blu-ray - 2013)
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