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The Master

3.0 2
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson

Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams


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Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master stars Joaquin Phoenix as a psychologically damaged war veteran who finds himself working for Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a charismatic figure building his own religion. As the alcoholic, self-destructive


Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master stars Joaquin Phoenix as a psychologically damaged war veteran who finds himself working for Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a charismatic figure building his own religion. As the alcoholic, self-destructive former soldier becomes more deeply involved with the leader of this cult-like organization, his natural instincts keep him from embracing his new position as strongly as others in the group would hope. The Master screened at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
As long as a year before it finally hit screens, the buzz surrounding Paul Thomas Anderson's sixth movie, The Master, was that it would be a veiled exposé/attack on Scientology, but the film itself turns out to be far less interested in any specific cult or religion than in exploring mankind's eternal struggle between faith and skepticism. Joaquin Phoenix stars as Freddie Quell, a shell-shocked WWII vet prone to violent outbursts, who spends most of his time looking for sex, drifting from job to job, and making remarkably potent moonshine from seemingly whatever material he has on hand. All the while, his rage is brimming just under the surface, ready to boil over into a physical confrontation for any reason -- or even no reason at all. One night he sneaks onto a yacht owned by Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a self-described writer, scientist, and "inquisitive man" who takes an unexpected liking to the stowaway, in no small part because of Freddie's hooch-making prowess. Lancaster senses a lost soul in the former soldier and soon invites him to stay on the yacht, becoming part of the religion that Lancaster runs with the help of his wife Peggy (Amy Adams) and children. The scenes between these two acting heavyweights are spellbinding. Phoenix seizes on his character's constant discomfort -- when Freddie stands he puts his hands on his hips in such a way that his elbows jut out awkwardly, and when he does smile it tends to look more threatening than peaceful. He also maintains an unrelenting feral intensity that contrasts beautifully with Hoffman's performance, because the PTA regular plays Lancaster as a cool and confident leader whose calm is more assuring than frightening -- even though what he's espousing occasionally sounds insane. It turns out that the organization the Dodds have created involves asking personal questions of their members, since they believe that emotional wounds can be carried on for lifetime after lifetime, and these painful memories are exposed through a series of questionnaires. The scene when Freddie first agrees to answer the questions turns out to be one of Phoenix, Anderson, and Hoffman's finest achievements -- it's an exquisitely written sequence, and it's amazing to watch the shell that we've seen Freddie construct get cracked open by Lancaster's quiet insistence. Anderson had to be aware that he had struck gold on the page with all of the scenes between his two lead characters. However, what's missing is a sense of momentum, of a story moving forward. The relationship between these two men may change over time, with Lancaster feeling protective -- or possibly controlling -- of Freddie, and Freddie inevitably blowing up at fellow members or those who question the Dodds. But there's a sameness to the action, even though the movie remains captivating because of the stellar acting and scintillating dialogue. In addition, the film is so beautifully photographed that you don't want to look away from the screen. Working for the first time with cinematographer Mihai Malaimare Jr. -- who shot Tetro and several other recent pictures by Francis Ford Coppola -- Anderson gives us startlingly beautiful images of water in the wake of a boat and Freddie's nervous eyes peeking under his helmet as he awaits deployment, but this is a film that comes loaded with close-ups. We get lost in the nooks and crannies of the actors' faces; Lancaster's facial hair practically becomes hypnotic as he speaks. The Master feels like the most open-ended of Paul Thomas Anderson's films so far. The concept of constructing a family is also less prominent here than in his previous work: Freddie isn't necessarily looking to have people around him, but instead is just floating -- or rather drinking and fighting and screwing -- his way through life no matter what gets thrown in his path. So we're left to consider the themes the movie returns to over and over, as concepts of faith and friendship are questioned without answers being provided. You might expect an epic, but in fact The Master is smaller. It's a meditation rather than a grand statement from one of our very best filmmakers.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Region Code:
[Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Back: Beyond; Outtakes; Additional Scenes; Music by Johnny Greenwood; Unguided Message; 8 Minute Short; Behind the Scenes; Teasers; Trailers

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Joaquin Phoenix Freddie Quell
Philip Seymour Hoffman Lancaster Dodd
Amy Adams Peggy Dodd
Laura Dern Helen Sullivan
Jesse Plemons Val Dodd
David Warshofsky Philadelphia Policeman
Rami Malek Clark
Price Carson V.A. Doctor
Mike Howard Rorschach Doctor
Sarah Shoshana David V.A. Nurse
Bruce Goodchild V.A./Doctor Interview
Matt Hering V.A. Patient
Dan Anderson V.A. Patient
Andrew Koponen V.A. Patient
Jeffrey Jenkins V.A. Patient
Patrick Biggs V.A. Patient
Ryan Curtis V.A. Patient
Jay Laurence V.A. Patient
Abraxas Adams V.A. Patient
Tina Bruna Portrait Customer
Kevin Hudnell Portrait Customer
Hunter Craig Portrait Customer
Ryder Craig Portrait Customer
Rodion Salnikov Portrait Customer
Emily Gilliam Portrait Customer
Kody Klein Portrait Customer
Amy Ferguson Martha the Salesgirl
W. Earl Brown Fighting Businessman
Frank Bettag Frank
Ariel Felix Filipino Worker
Vladimir Velasco Filipino Worker
John Mark Reyes Filipino Worker
Brian Fong Filipino Worker
Diane Cortejo Young Filipino Woman
Leonida A. Bautista Nana
Myrna de Dios Angry Filipino Woman
Katie Boland Young Woman
Ambyr Childers Elizabeth Dodd
Lorelai Hoey Baby
Martin D. Dew Norman Conrad
Joshua Close Wayne Gregory
Jillian Bell Susan Gregory
Kevin Walsh Cliff Boyd
Lena Endre Mrs. Solstad
Madisen Beaty Doris Solstad
William O'Brien Hiring Hall Voice
Kevin J. O'Connor Bill William
Patty McCormack Mildred Drummond
Mimi Cozzens Chi Chi Crawford
Zan Overall Bartender
Barbara Brownell Margaret O'Brien
Jill Andre Beatrice Campbell
Brigitte Hagerman New York Party Girl
Charley Morgan New York Lawyer
Christopher Evan Welch John More
Barlow Jacobs James Sullivan
Gigi Benson Dancer
Liz Clare Dancer
Fiona Dourif Dancer
Audrey Finer Dancer
Rose Fox Dancer
Bailey Hopkins Dancer
Mari Kearney Dancer
Sarah Klaren Dancer
Ally Johnson Dancer
Brittany Kilcoyne McGregor Dancer
Larain Ring Dancer
Kimberly Ables Jindra Processing Patient
Theodore M. Crisell Jail Bird
Tom Knickerbocker Judge Phoenix
Eban Schletter Band Member - Piano
Scott Rodgers Band Member - Drum
Melora Walters Band Member - Voice
Emily Jordan British Receptionist
Amanda Caryn Jobbins British Receptionist
Olivia Rosemarie Barham Pub Customer
Napolean Ryan Pub Customer
Jennifer Neala Page Winn Manchester

Technical Credits
Paul Thomas Anderson Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Colin Anderson Camera Operator
Mark Bridges Costumes/Costume Designer
Albert Chi Co-producer
David Crank Production Designer
Megan Ellison Producer
Jack Fisk Production Designer
John P. Goldsmith Set Decoration/Design
Jonny Greenwood Score Composer
Leslie Jones Editor
Cassandra Kulukundis Casting
Daniel Lupi Producer
Mihai Malaimare Cinematographer
Peter McNulty Editor
Christopher Scarabosio Sound/Sound Designer
Ted Schipper Executive Producer
Joanne Sellar Producer
Adam Somner Asst. Director,Executive Producer
Mark Ulano Sound Mixer
William W. Weiske Co-producer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Master
1. Intro 1945/ Freddie Quell [17:29]
2. Lancaster Dodd/Aboard The Alethia [19:05]
3. Processing [18:14]
4. A 'ng [17:57]
5. From the Window to the Wall [3:44]
6. The Split Saber [18:10]
7. No Other Love [12:23]
8. England [8:33]
1. Was There A Fight? [1:45]
2. Hopelessly Inquisitive [1:30]
3. She Wrote Me A Letter [1:54]
4. I Lost My Ship [1:02]
5. Gone To China [:48]
6. Tell Me What You See [1:21]
7. Last One / Thank You [4:31]
8. Theatrical Trailer [2:26]
9. Man Is Not An Animal / Organ [1:06]


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The Master 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Readingmaterial More than 1 year ago
This was, without a doubt, the worst movie I have ever seen.