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The Master [Blu-ray]

3.4 out of 5 stars 148 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Laura Dern, Rami Malek
  • Directors: Paul Thomas Anderson
  • Writers: Paul Thomas Anderson
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region B/2 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Entertainment in Video
  • DVD Release Date: 11 Mar. 2013
  • Run Time: 144 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (148 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00A6VGLEM
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 13,093 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Product description

Product Description

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?

From Amazon.co.uk

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

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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Visually stunning...
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Outstanding perfomances from both male leads. Interesting take on dependency, very much worth a watch,
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If you have seen Joaquin Phoenix playing parts ranging from the villainous Roman Emperor Commodus in 'Gladiator' to the Country Music singer Johnny Cash in 'Walk the Line' you know how versatile he can be. Here he puts in another unique and convincing performance as an ex-serviceman mentally disturbed by his experiences in World War II, who finds a temporary refuge by joining a strange cult 'The Cause', whose leader spouts profound sounding platitudes and exploits the naivety of his followers.

This film therefore raises important questions about the many dubious, eccentric cults originated in modern times by charismatic but exploitative leaders. (Could 1 or 2 of the world's so called 'Great Religions', or their sects, be just the most successful and enduring of such cults from past ages? Check the career of Joseph Smith, or another prophet who for fear of his followers' reaction I dare not name, but you can possibly guess.)

Phillip Seymour Hoffman (who I regret recently died suddenly) is good as the leader of the cult, the 'Master' of the film's title. Amy Adams, playing his wife, shows she can put in a more memorable and less 'prettified' performance than in her several more light-hearted films.

The problem is that none of the above changes the fact that this film is TOO FRAKKING LONG, SLOW and lacking in characters we can identify with to count as entertainment.

The solution would not be to cut out scenes. The problem is that every shot that could have been 3 seconds takes 4 or 5, every significant pause (the 'Master' believes in signifcant pauses) a second or two longer than it need be for us to get the point, every question the Master repeats 3 or 4 times (that is also part of his technique) could be repeated twice only to achieve the effect.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
not only an actor with three names, but also the director - that really should have warned me, never again!
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By ... 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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Format: 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-word, sex, masturbation, full frontal nudity. 3 1/2 stars
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Format: DVD
This puzzling offering by film -maker Paul Thomas Anderson, comes across as an obscure character study of human nature. Its very prescriptive tone and narrative take the viewer on an indepth examination of our two protagonists Lancaster Dodd ( Hoffman) and Freddie Quell, ( Phoenix).
Their relationship is complex and strange but hovers on the symbiotic with overtones of the subversive and devisive.
The most compelling elements of this long film are its cinematography (Malaimare) and score, (Jonny Greenwood)- as they take the viewer on a hypnotic journey, filling in the gaps with atmosphere and motifs which help to simultaneously dissect and piece the story together.
The frustrating part of the direction and writing of this film is that it fails to offer the audience paramaters or validations of its characters, leaving a giant abyss of unanswered questions and ambivalent conclusions.
Of course, Hoffman and Phoenix both flex their thespian muscles here,with marvelous effect, so take note all you fledgling actors. Although it sounds so predictable and cliche to mention that the film didn't seem to have a pivotal point-but unfortunately, I really couldn't find one;certainly watch if that doesn't bother you-
However, an interesting biopic on how charismatic and powerfully addicting a cult scenario can be for the needy, disfunctional and weak minded amoung us.
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