P.T. Anderson's "The Master"

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I decided half way through this film that it was either a work of genius or an unfinished, poorly edited piece of crap. So I flipped a coin and it was craps up.

There are elements of a good film in The Master. But only elements.

Dodd and Quell could have been an interesting study in opposites but unfortunately Dodd's character is poorly developed. The film extends for over 2 hours and yet it never seems that Dodd is ever fully explored. At one point the viewer begins to suspect that Dodd's wife is the real drive behind the emerging cult but this is only hinted at. Dodd's odd friendship with Quell is heavily criticized by others but Dodd never abandons Quell. Dodd remains at the helm, bathroom jerk-scenes notwithstanding.

Another missed opportunity would have been to explore the dynamics of cults, of charismatic leadership. The longing of people for answers in life. Unfortunately, many of Dodd's supporters view his beliefs as a kind of interesting fad or something amusing. How then, can we understand Dodd's successes? Are rich people really that stupid? Should I give up my job and begin hypnotizing old women? I could live on a yacht!

There were several times in the film when I suspected that the director was insulting my intelligence. The image of Joaquin Phoenix in a sailor suit sitting uncomfortably next to a young sweetheart. What the fuck? He's like 40 years old! And again, at the end of the film when Philip Seymor Hoffman demonstrates his singing skills, I find my reaction exactly that of Quell - first laughing, then crying.

A slow boat to china indeed.
 

mjp

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Don't you know that if you don't "get it," then it's obviously genius?

Just like Dianetics.

"Damn, this is incomprehensible gibberish...I must not be sufficiently advanced to understand it. It sure seems important though...maybe I should take a course..."
 

Gerard K H Love

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Some people just look like they are 40 when they're in High School.
I watched the movie but didn't really study it closely like some movies require a cup of coffee and a dictionary. It had excellent actors and had it's moments but did take too much time to see. I wish River Phoenix would have been alive to advise his brother not to take the part.
 
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