Deckard🥃’s review published on Letterboxd:
Took me while, but here it is!
Paul Thomas Anderson once said, "I really feel... That Magnolia is, for better or worse, the best movie I'll ever make." I disagree, I really feel that The Master is, for better or worse, the best film he'll ever make.
I will admit that I wasn't too keen on There Will Be Blood. But I was skeptic to see this, just based on my experience with PTA's There Will Be Blood. That's never happening again. The Master has to be my favorite film of PTA and is easily ranked in my top films of all time. It's a beautiful, MASTERpiece. Visually, direction, and acting-wise, it's just a film you cannot simply miss. You can't just pick up on a shelf in a store and place it down for something else. It warrant's a watch.
Freddie Quell is a man of serious problems and help. He's a sex obsessed, alcoholic, troubling man trying to adjust to a world that has since changed after the war. After getting fired from his job as a photographer in a department store for getting in a drunken fight and later his job on the cabbage farm. He then stumbles upon his master, Lancanster Dodd. Dodd see's Freddie, for what we, the viewer see him. A wreck. Dodd takes him under his wing in an effort to save this man and also for his moonshine (made with paint thinner).
Dodd is the leaser of a philosophical movement called "The Cause" And he makes it his effort to heal those in need of healing, but at times (at least to me) it felt as if Dodd, too, was in need of healing. Freddie after a drunken fight with the police, is given one last shot of help with Dodd, because Dodd doesn't want to fail Freddie. Freddie is given a series of tests and passes and it is then where Dodd and Freddie dig up Dodd's unpublished work and Dodd publishes his second book. Freddie decides to leave The Cause and head back home to rekindle some things. Despite being disappointed, he is happy.
But you can only keep someone on a leash for so long, before they cut themselves loose and decide then, for what's best for themselves.
It took me a while to understand everything after watching. I wouldn't say understanding, but rather analyzing certain aspects, that's when It was evident to me that this was how PTA indented his film to be. Frustrating and even emotional. There is no happy ending, no resolution to our characters and their journey. It ends and you either accept it or you don't. It is us as the viewer who feel like Freddie Quell watching it. Frustrated and emotional. That to me, is brilliant filmmaking.
Again this is just how I feel after just one viewing on it, I will probably need another viewing to help clear up a few more aspects of course.
I would like to say that I am disappointed in the Academy for not recognizing Paul Thomas Anderson's work here for Direction and Screenwriting. It's just like I said, brilliant filmmaking. The acting and the dialogue is just so rich and powerful that it sucks you into this film and keeps you there until the ending credits. Photography wise, This film is a masterpiece. It's Just looks so beautiful and at times grim, with the work of Mihai Mălaimare, Jr. The cinematography and choice of film (65MM) along with PTA's direction really make this film feel so large on an epic scale. At times, the basic of shots and angles are just so amazing and it complements the film. Jonny Greenwood's score is just amazingly beautiful. It's not too often now that in this day and age in cinema that the film's accompanying musical score really complements the film and helps to tell the story as well. Greenwood's score, to me listening to it, felt many different things. Anger, frustrations, and love. It adds to the film and makes the film even more phenomenal as it helps bring it to life.
Paul Thomas Anderson and Co. really surprised me with this truly wonderful piece of cinema. If it wasn't for Letterboxd and seeing this on /tv/ I would of ended up passing on this. Hell I would've forgotten about this. I'm glad I put all things aside to see this. Oh and Shame on the academy for giving Daniel Day Lewis the award for Best Acting. This is worth watching just for Joaquin Phoenix's performance. That man just showed is acting chops... Again.
This is a film that you need to see. For your love of Cinema, or PTA, or Joaquin Phoenix. This is a must-see!