Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, and released in it’s home country of the USA in 2012.
While not the masterpiece I was expecting, The Master is an excellent ensemble that works from an already excellent screenplay – from the master himself Paul Thomas Anderson. An undeniably career best performance from Joaquin Phoenix and while I’d love to say the same for Philip Seymour Hoffman I just can’t overthrow his performance in Synecdoche, New York, despite how brilliant he was in The Master. Both actors have already shown their extraordinary talents on plenty of occasions and for Phoenix to go from I’m Still Here to this is quite a feat…. but for an actor of his calibre, it’s nothing special. His performance here is nothing short of a revelation.
The cinematography is probably my favourite aspect of the whole film, every single shot is beautiful and all of Freddie Quell’s dream sequences further allude to the characters’ own madness genetically handed down by his mother. Phoenix dives so deep into this character that by the end of the film when one of those long trademark shots of PTA stares at Freddie Quell, be it in bed with a woman or lying on the beach, we see the despair of this man. I felt such a strong connection to the character at the end of the film aswell as a bad inclination toward Hoffman’s Lancaster Dodd – but I felt his performance so strongly and his final sequence is an astonishing acting display from both men but more so Hoffman, the passion that these two actors have for their craft is so admirable.
All in all, it’s an incredible piece of cinema that features one of the very finest performances of this century. I’ll be hoping to rewatch this very soon as I can only imagine this will get much much better after time.