The Master Review and Blu-ray Features
21 Sep 2012
Paul Thomas Anderson
Behind the Scene and other Major Plot Points
Performance of the Decade so far?
Loved DDL Lincoln, but Joaquin’s performance in this is one of the greatest I’ve ever seen. Up there with Brando in On the Waterfront, DDL in There Will be Blood, Meryl Streep in Sophie’s Choice, De Niro in Raging Bull. Any one got any better performances from 2010 onwards? I think J.K. Simmons in Whiplash is a truly classic performance, the best of 2014, but no one is on Joaquin’s level (except, perhaps, Philip Seymour Hoffman).
Yeah he killed it in the Master. But if think PSH had the best performance in the movie. As far as the decade it’s up there with Christian Bale The Fighter and PSH in the Master
Among the most awe-inspiring and creative performance ever committed to film.
DDL’s performance in Lincoln has precision. Joaquin’s performance in The Master has explosive creativity, the likes of which I’ve never seen.
Beautiful cinematography great acting..
..thats about it
That was so perfect. Such a beautiful film.
That’s not how I interpreted it. I interpreted it as Quell finding a tiny bit of peace despite knowing that he had been after a falsehood both with Dodd’s religion and the friendship he had offered. It was like the sand woman. It satisfied his needs in the mind, but it wasn’t real in the end.
But I suppose it could be interpreted as Quell never being able to find closure with the world. One makes up things like the sand woman to satisfy themselves, but it’s temporary
The scene at the end, for me, reinforced how he had moved forward from how he was at the beginning.
His relationship with Dodd helped him.
This film requires an INVESTMENTby the viewer. It isn’t mindless entertainment. I think that’s why it is even better on subsequent viewings.
My thought about the sand lady is that at the end, Freddie understand, through his journey with Dodd, that you can be happy or comfortable with anything as long as you believe in it. He was comfortable in the sand as much as he was with the real woman.
I also said in another thread that this movie was about us always looking out for facts, but just believing or hoping can be a lot stronger than being exposed to facts. I think it’s what PTA wanted to say when the lady says that she hope she had another life.
I know a lot of this movie was full of weird stuff related to “The Cause“. But I found it a bit hard to buy that a dream that Freddie had led him to England. That was just a big plot hole, and the only way they could explain it was “I spoke to you in a dream?” Really?
No, not a plot hole.
Maybe Freddie had heard that The Master had set up in England. Maybe he’d read it in a newspaper. Maybe he’d overheard it somewhere subconsciously. The fact that The Master wanted some Kools is no stretch. Freddie knows that he likes them and being a world traveler he know that you can’t get them in other countries. It is a logical guess that The Master would miss them.
So Freddie had a dream. He wanted an excuse to see The Master and his subconscious provided an excuse.
That is not a plot hole. A plot hole is something that is impossible. This is possible. Just because every single point is not explained does not make it a plot hole. The fact that the writer didn’t connect all the dots for us does not mean that it is a plot hole. It just means that the writer respects the intelligence of the audience.
It’s a masterpiece. If you can’t see that, you’re a halfwit.
It is an objective fact that the few haters on this board did not understand the film’s story and exploration of character.
It’s best to let time take the film in, it simply can’t disappear because it’s much too powerful to fade into obscurity. I believe that in the years to come, many great artists will take inspiration from the film and credit it for such, Matthew Mcconaughey already claimed it’s one of his favorite films and look how well he revived his career.
I guess the general concept of belief systems holding people in the past that the film portrays really well. Its not a popular view but it rings true to me. Its also Phoenix’s, adams’ and hoffman’s greatest.
I loved it right away. I knew I was watching something special
Anyone Else Feel Really Bad For Him
Toward the end when Freddy goes back to his old sweetheart’s house and her mother tries to let him down easy, telling him she now lives in Alabama with her husband – I felt so bad for Freddy. The rejection he feels reminded me of the scene in Taxi Driver where Travis is on the phone with Cybill Shepard’s character, and you know this deluded character is just facing utter, painful rejection. Both characters are disturbed but in both scenes I can’t help but feel pity for how deluded they are.
He seemed a little bitter about his lost love whose moved on, but said the right things, accepted it, and went out to get drunk and *beep* some hot chubby chick. He did change, just not in a big noticable way.
For me personally, it had to be the “processing” session between Quell & Dodd. When you see Freddie starting to answer honestly, especially the long pause before answering the question regarding his mother. The sadness and anger in his eyes really made this the most moving scene of the film for me.
I agree, for me that is one of the most powerful scenes in the film. I also love the one where Dodd sings “I’ll Go No More A-Roving” and the final scene between Dodd and Freddie in which he sings “Slow Boat To China”. I enjoyed all the music in the film, both the score by Jonny Greenwood and the songs of the era chosen by PTA. The latter always seem to be an added commentary on what is happening to the characters on screen. For example, when Freddie rides off on the motorbike and the song “No Other Love” sung by Jo Stafford plays over the scene and Dodd looks completely stricken.
The film is so beautifully shot and superbly acted that I find every bit of it absolutely compulsive.
RT/Meta Critic Review
Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master is a challenging film, like most of his work. One that evokes a spellbinding performance out of Joaquin Phoenix. (Click here to see)
As has been widely publicized, The Master was the first fiction film to be shot in 65mm since Kenneth Branagh’s Hamletin 1996 (although hand-held sequences, about 15% of the film, were shot in 35mm). The DP was Mihai Malaimare Jr., the Romanian cinematographer best known for shooting Tetro and Youth Without Youth for Francis Coppola. (Anderson’s usual collaborator, Robert Elswit, was unavailable due to other commitments.) Unlike most contemporary releases, post-production work was completed photochemically, without the use of a digital intermediate.
The existing Blu-ray format may not have sufficient resolution to convey the full image detail of a 65mm negative. (DP Malaimare estimates that 8K resolution would be required.) Nevertheless, the image on Anchor Bay’s 1080p, AVC-encoded Blu-ray is nothing short of stunning, with density, detail, sharpness and sheer presence against which any Blu-ray I have seen to date can favorably compare. Colors range from the cool (intensely cool) blues of the Pacific locales where Freddie Quell serves as a sailor to the warm and just-too-saturated palette of the New York party where Dodd is the guest of honor and the Philadelphia home where he takes up residence. The film’s visual design, and indeed the use of a large-format negative, had its inspiration in portrait photography (one of Freddie’s many jobs), and scene after scene harkens back to this initial concept, with the camera locked down for an extended take, allowing the viewer to soak up the detail within the frame and be drawn into the scene.
If you look very closely, you can discern the film’s grain pattern, but the photography is so sharp and the post-processing has been so carefully monitored that the grain is almost imperceptible. Certainly, having taken so much trouble to get the image just right prior to release, the filmmakers have been careful not to allow any digital tampering for the Blu-ray, and the compressionist did not add to their challenges.
Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood provided the distinctive score for The Master, having previously scored There Will Be Blood. Greenwood’s compositions are as essential to the sonic landscape of The Master as the film’s dialogue, hovering between music and sound effects and providing a kind of non-verbal commentary on Freddie Quell’s interior world. The Blu-ray’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 track reproduces Greenwood’s score with a forceful presence that takes full advantage of the surround array. Seamlessly integrated with the original score are period-specific tunes like “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree (with Anyone Else but Me)”, which sound wonderful.
Major effects such as the ocean or the interior of a naval vessel are noteworthy, but in general The Master‘s mix goes for subtle environmental ambiance that doesn’t draw attention away from the visuals. Dialogue is always clear, and the occasional sudden explosion of sound (usually associated with Freddie’s temper) registers with appropriate impact.
Unfortunately, Anchor Bay’s Blu-rays of films released by the Weinstein Company continue to be mastered with BD-Java, while omitting the essential convenience of bookmarking. There is no excuse for this continued omission of basic user-friendliness (especially with a mere eight chapter divisions).
- “Back Beyond”: Outtakes, Additional Scenes; Music by Johnny Greenwood (1080p; 1.85:1; 19:59): Rather than the usual itemized listing, this collection of deleted scenes has been edited together in the form of a short film, with a separate musical soundtrack (in DD 2.0) and voiceover that has sometimes been lifted from one scene to accompany another. It’s a fascinating exercise in alternative presentation and opens an interesting window into the editing process.
- Teasers/Trailers (1080p; 1.85:1; 16:56): There are nine, of various lengths and with different focuses.
- “Unguided Message”: 8 Minute Short; Behind the Scenes (480i; 1.85:1, non-enhanced; 7:59): Unnarrated footage from various sets and locations provides a brief overview of the film’s production.
- “Let There Be Light” (1946): John Huston’s landmark documentary about WWII veterans (480i; 1.33:1; 58:06): Anderson has said that he drew substantially from this documentary covering treatment of what is now known as “PTSD”. The bulk of the film records sessions of hypno-therapy that tend to support the assertion made by John More in The Master, namely that Lancaster Dodds’s “processing” differs little from hypnosis. The source material for “Let There Be Light” appears to be public domain, and it contains a few sound dropouts.