This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
AlexRostov’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Very interesting, thought-provoking and powerful film by the great (yes, great) writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson. Though I can't say I understood it all, nor agreed with it all...I will say that I found THE MASTER to be brilliant, confounding, and very compelling.
Joaquin Phoenix delivers the performance of a lifetime as he one hundred percent redeems himself after the insipid I'M STILL HERE debacle two years ago. His outstanding portrayal of the deeply troubled anti-hero Freddie Quell will be remembered for years to come as one of the great cinematic performances.
Philip Seymour Hoffman also delivers his best-ever performance as the insane, charismatic, and manipulative "Master." Even miss goody-two shoes Amy Adams kicks ass in the movie as the Master's intense wife.
I can't say I was not impressed with the 70mm print I saw. It made me wonder why it was shot in 70mm in the first place. No matter, Mihai Malaimare Jr. beautiful cinematography looks great, and Jonny Greenwood's score creates great tension in the story.
The story itself is a curious one..mixing a well written send-up and dissection of all things Scientology (in a fictional manner) mixed with an off-the-wall character study of the enigmatic vagrant hero, Freddie Quell.
I suppose I liked the first half of the movie more than the second half, yet both parts are interesting. The last quarter of THE MASTER was, for me, a head-scratcher....especially the ending. I left the theater uncertain if I understood where the film ended up, and why.
That said, I was very impressed that Paul Thomas Anderson has once again offered to the world a carefully crafted, highly original story...that stays with you longer after the movie ends.