Our 16-year-old film blogger Jack Bool reviews The Master
For many years I've always acknowledged Paul Thomas Anderson. The man is easily one of the finest directors working today and whilst I wouldn't regard The Master as his best work it's still a brilliant film in its own right that I feel everyone should see.
The film stars Joaquin Phoenix as a naval war veteran who arrives home from war unsettled and uncertain of his future however he becomes tantalized by The Cause and its charismatic leader Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman).
Now it's safe to say this could be the film that dominates the Oscars this year. If it doesn't win best picture there's a good chance that Hoffman and Phoenix will reign supreme in the best actor field as the two performances are quite honestly a couple of the finest I've seen in many years. Whilst watching the movie I found it incredibly difficult to distinguish between who I felt gave the better performance as they are both exceptional. The two have a very strong chemistry on set, you buy into their bond but you never really know what to expect. Is Dodd using Quell or does he actually care for him? It's a very odd yet deeply satisfying watch.
Now I'm not really one to talk about the camera work in films but the cinematography this movie showcases is magnificent. As a period piece it works incredibly well. The characters, the outfits, the sets all blend in with the persona the movie wants to create. It really is a stunning achievement in terms of film-making. Jonny Greenwood who composed the score has created some of the finest music I've heard in film this year. The score is often haunting but like everything else fits in with the art-house style this movie undeniably conveys. If you've lost faith in cinema as an art form you should definitely watch this movie to rekindle your love, as I personally can't help but applaud it on how well made it is.
Despite how great The Master is it's the type of film that is full of specific scenes that grab you, not every scene works. Some felt a bit long-winded which is understandable as this really is a very long movie. Clocking in at 143 minutes it can feel a bit of a chore at times however once it's over it really plays on your mind. You're trying to tie everything together and that's what I love about this film, how random and bizarre it is. When it's at its finest it could well be the best movie of the year unfortunately I can't say I was as hooked as I was in certain sequences, but the sequences that I did like in this movie are probably the best I've seen this year in terms of how well-crafted they are and its evidently clear they'll be playing on my mind for the next few days.
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The Master is definitely going to be garnering a lot of buzz come award season and understandably so. It's a fantastic film that deserves the acclaim it has been receiving, resulting in one of the year's best.
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