Today I am going back to probably the most dividing film of 2012, The Master. I remember my heightened anticipation, namely because I love anything that Paul Thomas Anderson does, but also for the cryptic subject matter that was teased. Whether or not this is truly a stab at Scientology is up for debate amongst the viewers of the film, for me it is clear, but it is merely the backdrop for a deeper look at a partnership between the two leads. The Master and the student.
Phoenix was absolutely incredible in this film as a booze drinking poon-hound of the sorts, one who’s aimless wandering through life perplexes Hoffman’s character to the point that he must study him or perhaps absorb him in a way. He inspires his writings, his renewed vigor to control or understand an individual that isn’t prone to being under a certain authority, a certain code that only Phoenix lives by. I am drawn into this movie more and more since it’s release on dvd/blu-ray, beautiful and intriguing.
So today, I wanted to come back to this film, one that I will certainly watch again and again as it ended up being one of the top movies of the year for me and it certainly should be seen by more people. If you can appreciate the subject, at least enjoy the composition and cinematography that PTA uses in the film. His looks and style is serene and sharp looking, almost hypnotizing with his array of track shots and open composition with the backdrops of his scenes.
Make no mistake about The Master, from what you have heard about this film, it is a template for a commentary on Scientology. What that commentary is really about, I don’t know. It isn’t some grand scheme to polarize those about Scientology or the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard, but more a framework to showcase the study of the psychology between two individuals, a master and student, sheep and shepherd, father and son, whatever the correlation you want to make, it’s about an aimless individual and one who can provide the path. For me, that is the core of the film, a study about the external factors of our life.
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