The Master.

The rather interesting poster.
Paul Thomas Anderson’s previous body of work includes There Will Be Blood (2007) and Magnolia (1999), which I believe is still his best film to date. His latest offering is The Master (2012) which has received a great deal of praise from the critic’s and has gained a much-lorded position in many of the ‘Best Of’ lists for 2012. The only reason I can see for such acclaim is the quality of the performances from its highly rated cast and its period detail that allows a really classy glimpse at 1950’s America and its middle class. But I’m afraid Anderson’s script is just not good enough for such a complex story, it did not draw you in and hold your attention which made the 137 minute running time seem even longer than it actually was.

Joaquin Phoenix as Freddie Quall.

The film’s central character is an ex Word War 11 veteran Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) who is struggling to adjust to post war society. When Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman), the leader of a philosophical movement known as ‘The Cause’ comes across the alcoholic Quell he see’s something in this strange gait figure. The film basically deals with the relationship between two very different men. 

Philip Seymour Hoffman as Lancaster Dodds.

After the catastrophe that was I'm Still Here (2010), one of the very rare films which I have left before the end, I could not imagine that Joaquin Phoenix would ever redeem him self in my eyes. But his performance as Quell is totally believable gaining him a very well deserved nomination for Best Actor in January’s Golden Globes, which in it’s self is a good pointer for Februarys Academy Awards.  Hoffman should also get nominated for Best Male Support at the Oscars for a role that’s said to be based on L. Ron Hubbard who founded the Church of Scientology in the 1950’s. Also well worth a mention is Amy Adams, who plays Peggy Dodd, Lancaster’s supportive wife, who is rapidly becoming one of America’s best actresses. The rather pleasing soundtrack has been composed by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood who has previously composed music for another of Andersons films Let There Be Blood as well as the intriguing Norwegian Wood (2010) and Lynne Ramsay’s Oscar neglected We Need To Talk About Kevin (2010). Personally I would swop some of the beautifully looking camera work by Romanian cinematographer Mihai Malaimare Jr. for a story line that engaged my undivided attention: disappointing. 

The superb Amy Adams as Peggy Dodd.