I thought the performances by Hoffman and Phoenix were excellent and both seem like locks for Oscar nominations, but the film itself left me cold.
I was disappointed by the lack of whips, chains, ben wa balls, and safe words. Mine has always been "Olivia Newton John", for obvious, and not so obvious, reasons.
I can't watch anything Joaquin Phoenix does after that bullshit mockumentary stunt he and Casey(I'm a director too!)Affleck tried and failed to pull.
PTA clearly couldn't figure out an ending. He dangled the possibility there was homosexual attraction between the two men, but it really was a distraction that went nowhere. The story just seemed to wither in its last half hour. Having said that, I enjoyed watching what was clearly a takedown of $ciTology's earliest days. Incredible production design, acting, great editing and filmmaking.
Amy Adams deserves best supporting actress - her character is the true controller, the master in that tale. Her hand job scene alone - a ride or die chick, circa post-WWII. Great performances.
Juaquin (sp? who cares) is also excellent, but he looks like a total junkie. He looks very sick.
Excellent to see in 70mm. So satisfying to see an "adult" film in a theatre.
Pretty dirty little movie too. A prude hipster couple sitting in front of me walked out. LOL. Go see the Avengers a third time, you infantilized shitheads.
Support it! Despite the ending, it's worth the ticket price.
Incredible production design, acting, great editing and filmmaking.
Yes, yes and yes. But still boring in parts (the middle draaaaaaaaaaaagged on), overly long and aimless.
The two best scenes by far were the processing scene and the end scene.
Joaquin Phoenix was robbed of an Oscar for WALK THE LINE. I have always liked him and am glad he appears to be back on track acting wise.
Philil Seymour Hoffman was robbed of the Tony for DEATH OF A SALESMAN. I love him so much I would pay to see him read the fucking PHONE BOOK on screen.
Just saw it, some of the acting and writing were so excellent, transcendent almost, but there wasn't really a narrative arc I could latch onto. It didn't feel like the story transcended from being a character study.
Beautiful costumes and production design, watching movies like this is almost like a kind of time travel.
Agree that the production design, the costumes and the cinematography were spectacularly good. Also really liked the music.
Too bad it was attached to such a ridiculously silly script. PT Anderson has always dangled the idea of two men being in love, though of course no sex, that would make them gay. And this is his most explicit movie in this regard, without being explicit at all (the naked women don't count).
Anderson is a great visual director, but he has no sense of how to write strong narratives with compelling characters -- it's always just the germ of an idea in search of a plot.
As a result, the actors are left to fend for themselves and even great actors get lost in the process. Phoenix gives a hapless Montgomery Clift/Marlon Brando/James Dean imitation that's embarassing to watch. Philip Seymour Hoffman minces and barks, often at the same time. And Amy Adams is an absolute zero trying to be Lady Macbeth.
The movie is highly overrated.
Joaquin Phoenix gives an absolutely ferocious performance and will be, without a doubt, the frontrunner come Oscar time.
Gorgeous imagery (the repeated shots of the wake of the ships from overhead, the great shot of Phoenix sunbathing on the ship's turret from overhead), and three great performances--I would not be surprised if all three leads won Oscars (Phoenix for Best Actor, Hoffman and Adams for Supporting).
But as always with PT Anderson films, the screenplay was his weak point. Why do young American auteurs always think because they're great directors they're also great screenwriters? The ending just petered out, and the movie didn't have much of a reason for being.
r11, you're the third person -- professional critics included -- state this idea that so many of the young "auteurs" that have come up since the mid-to-late 90s insist upon writing their own screenplays, even though this is clearly not their primary talent and that the script is almost always the weak element of the film. It's as if they're writing to fit pre-conceived visual ideas rather than starting from character or even plot.
One misses the days when great directors would work with the screenwriter to fashion the film, or take a script that interests them to create a great film that was still a highly distinctive and personal vision.
I've disliked Phoenix since I found out he and Mark Wahlberg turned down the leads in Brokeback Mountain because they're homophobes. He was raised in a Christian cult, that's where it comes from. River was open-minded, but his ugly brother isn't.
I really enjoyed it. It was a very thoughtful look at American religious experience (though filtered through a scieno lens). Much like Krakauer's Under the Banner of Heaven, takes a religion that is obviously ridiculous (and which has a more complete historical record), and uses it as a proxy to show the religions Americans hold as legitimate are no less absurd than those being portrayed.
Fucking waste of two hours and 16 minutes.
I enjoyed it. At the end, Freddie fucked Adelle's grandmother.
I thought I was tremendous. I had to keep asking them to "cut" because I was so overcome with the brilliance of the work I was doing. A magnificent performance.
r12, this becomes really clear if you read the book "Easy Riders, Raging Bulls," about the great Hollywood directors of the 70s. Almost all of them--Scorsese, Coppola, Friedkin, Bogdanovich, Altman, Ashby--did NOT write their own screenplays; they relied on other people's screenplays.
But the whole idea of the auteur took hold in this weird way that non-writers became convinced they had to be writers as well as directors if they really wanted to "own" their films.
I saw it this afternoon and I was totally blown away. Easily the best film I have seen in the past five or six years. I worship the ground Philip Seymour Hoffman waddles on. When he sang "Slow Boat to China" at the end, I couldn't believe it. And Joaquin Phoenix was completely awesome. No matter how nutso he may be in real life, that was the performance of a lifetime.
The son-in-law, Clark, was FUCKING HAWT!!!
I agree with R.19 about Hoffman; his Slow Boat to China rendition is a classic moment.
Phoenix just seems unhinged--not in a controlled way. He just seems nuts. Can you imagine what he would be like on stage?
The best acted and most boring film of the decade. Anderson had no idea what to do with his story do he just decided not to include one. A real waste of great talent.
R13 that would have been so yummy hard thinking about the two of them fucking
Fans of the Timothy Van Patten/Lee Van Cleef series of the same name called foul after purchasing tickets to this film that has nothing to do with a traveling martial artist and his gerbil.
I loved it, though I can see where it would drive some people up the wall. As everyone has said, a stunning movie to look at and listen to. Great performances, although clearly Phoenix is on drugs (meth? coke?), but he is still incredible. Laura Dern was underused, but the one scene where she starts to question Hoffman really accomplishes a lot in terms of plot. The dancing scene with the naked women was Kubrickian in its combination of beauty and horror.
To me, it was about to approaches to life. One crazy man controls himself and his environment through bullshit. The other crazy man accepts that he is can't control himself, but honest living might be better than the bullshit.
[quote]Phoenix just seems unhinged--not in a controlled way. He just seems nuts. Can you imagine what he would be like on stage?
He could do "Macbeth" on stage really well because he sure seems to be haunted by something.
I think he has come off of drugs and has had a hard time adjusting more so than to his being on drugs now.
R.26--But he doesn't seem to have any technique. He would be like the Ronald Colman character in A Double Life. When it came time to act as though he was killing the king, he would cause some serious damage.
I just can't believe Joaquin Phoenix and I are about the same age. He looks a good ten years older than his 37 years. And in this day and age, when most people with money can easily look much younger than their years, that is saying a lot. He looked ravaged.
The performances were good, verging on a bit hammy. I am still trying to figure out if I liked it or not. It felt important, but as the OP said, it left me cold.
Best I could figure out is that Joaquin was the complete Id with the farting, fucking and fighting - completely impulsive. PSH kept saying he recognized him from somewhere. Yeah, he recognized himself in him and his strong desire to destroy that part of himself. His inability to reform Joaquin underscored the bullshit of all of his work. PSH family recognized this very early on, and insisted they distance themselves from Joaquin, but PSH just couldn't quit him. In the end, we're left back where we started - unfixed, unchanged and unhappy.
I think that's a good read of it, R28.
This film will disappear.
Saw it for a second time today and it was a much more gratifying experience. Knowing what to expect, I found the scenes made much more sense and Phoenix's performance more nuanced, controlled and really moving than I remembered. The flow became clearer and the movie felt much shorter.
I just read an interesting theory that it is somewhat like A Clockwork Orange, with Freddy being Alex and the Cause as trying to "cure" him of his raw impulses. Especially with the Philadelphia scenes where Freddy is conditioned to "not react" when the son-in-law is taunting him and the repetition of walking back and forth between the wood wall and the window.
I think Freddy and Lancaster are definitely two half of one being, at least symbolically. You can see glimpses of Freddy when Lancaster has an angry outburst. Its amazing how Phoenix and PSH's performances mirror each other and there are countless shots where the two are juxtaposed to suggest a ying yang balance for lack of a better term.
You can see that Adams is the controlling device in PSH's life - his master. If not for that structure he may have run off drunk with Freddy.
Also, at the end, Phoenix asks Adams where their daughter is and she says something like "she's gone to dfc". Anyone know what that is? A church or something?
I also want to know what dfc is. I thought she meant the child had been seized by the department of child and family services.
"He dangled the possibility there was homosexual attraction between the two men"
I wish he would have given more thought to coming up with some theory about their relationship, why they were so important to each other and what was at stake with whether Freddie stayed with Dodd's cult or not.... because the movie fails to deliver any coherent vision of their bond. I am not sure if that bizarre "Slow Boat to China" moment was an erotic confession, but it crossed my mind, and while that would have been too little too late, it was the first moment in which I thought there was some glimmer of an answer as to why Dodd would have given a shit about whether Freddie remained in the fold or not.
R30 called it.
It was a film that promised so much and delivered so little. Both Phoenix and Hoffman's performances were so dominant, much more about "acting" rather than the characters. I couldn't wait for it to end.
Any chance that Amy Adams could pull an upset and win the Oscar?
Not even the slightest chance.
What hand job scene with Amy Adams? I took a quick bathroom break, maybe I missed it. When did that happen?
So at the end Freddie just left and went back to drinking and carousing? Or was it all a dream?
It had some good moments, but it leaves a lot to be desired. I would call this movie Red Herring instead of The Master.
I also didn't get the end. Was it meaningful to you?