Opening in theatres this Friday from writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson and The Weinstein Company is THE MASTER.
This film tells the story of Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix), a man with demons that affect the way he sees the world and treats people. Going from job to job his drinking becomes his biggest means of destruction.
After running once again from his problems, Freddie ends up on a boat sleeping off his latest binge. Waking up he comes face to face with Lancaster Dodd (Phillip Seymour Hoffman), a charismatic leader of a group that is headed to New York.
Along with wife Peggy Dodd (Amy Adams), eldest son Val (Jesse Plemmons), daughter Elizabeth (Ambryn Childers), and her husband Clark (Rami Malek), he learns that the family is together by a belief called The Cause.
Referring to Lancaster as ‘The Master’ a journey for Freddie begins as he must come face to face with his demons as Dodd forces truths that are hard to live with.
FINAL WORD: Phoenix is riveting to watch as Freddie Quell. Taking the role to such lengths, Phoenix appearance literally adds to the oddity of his character. From being so thin, to hand gestures to the jitteriness – all points to the difficult life of Freddie. The rage feels intense as Phoenix takes viewers on a roller coast of emotions.
Hoffman is charismatic as Lancaster Dodd. He is charming, charismatic, egotistical and self centered as well as firm in this characters belief in The Cause.
Adams as Peggy is totally dedicated to her husband and equally as dedicated to The Cause. Wanting to believe in Quell’s wish to change, she eventually realizes that as much as The Cause should work for him – it doesn’t.
Plemmons as Val is just along for the ride as Dodd’s son.
Other cast: Amy Ferguson as Martha, Frank Bettag as Frank, Martin Drew as Norman Conrad, Joshua Close as Wayne Gregory, Jillian Bell as Susan Gregory, Kevin J. Walsh as Cliff Boyd, Lena Endre as Mrs. Solstad, Madisen Beaty as Doris Solstad, Kevin J. O’Connor as Bill William, Patty McCormack as Mmildred Drummond, Mimi Cozzens as ChiChi Crawford, Barbara Brownell as Margaret O’Brien, Barlow Jacobs as James Sullivan and Laura Dern as Helen Sullivan.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give THE MASTER three tubs of popcorn out of five. I can honestly say that this was a hard one to call and let me tell you why. The performances by Phoenix, Hoffman and Adams are nothing short of amazing. The era is wonderfully represented and the music lends itself as much as it can to the film entirely.
That being said the story itself is not believable and doesn’t offer the audience a reason to be concerned after a certain point about what happens to these characters. I cannot truly see people flocking to this film and walking away with anything other than realizing this is the definition of an art house film.
In the end – who truly is the master?