Hoffman. Phoenix. Anderson. "The Master." We’re checking out the latest from the "Boogie Nights" helmer out now from The Weinstein Company and Anchor Bay Entertainment. Follow the reviewed teachings below.
Title: "The Master"
Cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Runtime: 144 minutes
Release Company: The Weinstein Company / Anchor Bay Entertainment
The Flick: For me "The Master" has the same problem all of Paul Thomas Anderson’s films have had after "Boogie Nights." There are some fabulous scenes with mass potential, but the film just doesn;t work as a single cohesive piece of work. Within the mish-mash of the way too long 144-minute flick there is however some seriously savory acting work including a very somber Joaquin Phoenix as an impressionable and frail man. But it’s the out of character work by Philip Seymour Hoffman as the lead charismatic guru that stands out here. Shedding his familiar tone and cadence, Hoffman embodies this leader and it’s a performance that truly should have won the Oscar. But why Anderson insists on being strange for strange sake (there’s a nude scene out of nowhere here!) and making his films as jumbled as possible is and always will remain a mystery to me. Boogie Nights didn’t have to resort to such grandiose staging to be memorable – the story was more then enough.
Best Feature: As with any Anderson flick even the extras are weird, but the best is the featurette 'Unguided Message' featuring 8-minutes of simply walking around behind the scenes and ending in the elevator scene with an accidental passing of gas. (To his method credit Phoenix never breaks character even during that!)
Best Hidden Gem: There’s a creepy postcard included with the Blu-ray of a stoic Hoffman and the back reads “Lancaster Dodd is the world’s leading scientist of the mind. His books have been published in over 300 countries and over 500 languages. He is currently the head of Atomic Studies at The Dodd University of England. He owns 271 motorcycles.” Classic.
Worth the Moola: Strange, weird and wonderful scenes with no regard for cohesive staging, "The Master" is classic Paul Thomas Anderson.