The Master

The Master ★★★★★

The more I rewatch The Master the more I realize how staggeringly brilliant it is. At first the erratic and strange tone may seem off-putting but on subsequent viewings it's clear why Paul Thomas Anderson made the film this way. The tone matches that of the main character Freddie Quell, played sensationally by Joaquin Phoenix.

Just the physical way in which Phoenix plays the shell-shocked Quell is breathtaking, not to mention the psychological layers he adds to the character. And let's not forget the master himself, Phillip Seymour Hoffman. It's performances like this that show what a brilliant talent he was. Amy Adams is given the most subtle role of the three, but she's no less impressive. The powerful, controlling presence she creates is mesmerising. It's a performance often off in the background, but certainly one that's hard to ignore.

The Master is one of the finest character studies ever put to film from a man who is certainly on his way to becoming one of the greatest directors of all-time. The score and cinematography are absolutely breathtaking, the acting is perfect all-around. One of the best films of the decade so far.

Joe Bender liked these reviews