Review by Matthew Schuchman
As the clamor and commotion behind everything Tom Cruise (or any celebrity) says in regards to Scientology, the religion is being put under a microscope like never before. While The Master does contain a story birthed from writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson research into the religion’s genesis, it's not the specifically aimed scathing finger of judgment some believe it to be. Rather, The Master is a searing letter of disappointment for a world emerging from a war that aimed too high in attempting to heal itself.
Few film makers today have such a distinctive style, like that of Paul Thomas Anderson's. Shot in 65mm, Mihai Malaimare Jr.’s cinematography under Anderson's direction is a glowing strike of masterful brilliance. Three men rush in pursuit of Freddie as the camera pushes into an open doorway engulfed in blackness on all sides, as the men burst out into a vast field. That description may be vague, but when you see it on the screen it evokes a glorious reaction of slack jawed awe and wide eyed astonishment. Accompanied by Johnny Greenwood's neurotically soothing score, set and costume designs screaming authenticity, solid performances from Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams, topped by Joaquin Phoenix's tortured brilliance and defined features; The Master is unlike anything else out there. What exists on the screen for all of its 137 minutes, is true beauty.
Scientology may be the base for the film's cult followers, but The Master harkens back to time when an entire nation lost itself amidst the brink of its greatest victory. The Master calls out any and all religion, institution, charlatan, or kind hearted person who reached out a hand to help those they weren't capable of healing. Individuals need care tailored specifically for them, not a mass movement that lumps all problems into one category, all that leaves is a band-aid on the wrong wound.
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In Theaters October 12th, 2012
Directed by: Paul Thomas Anderson
Written by: Paul Thomas Anderson
Featuring: Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams and Laura Dern
Plot:A 1950s-set drama centered on the relationship between a charismatic intellectual known as "the Master" whose faith-based organization begins to catch on in America, and a young drifter who becomes his right-hand man.