I have, truly tried my best to put the words together in order to define Paul Thomas Anderson’s new film, The Master, which is starring Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams and a list of capable newcomers. I thought to commence with asking: Have you ever seen a painting that by just looking at it, the tears in your heart slowly starts to flow? Or have you ever read a poem or heard a song that touches every vein in your heart? Paul Thomas Anderson, not only as a member of the audience, but also as a screenwriter and aficionado of cinema has challenged me. As an artist, he truly pushes me forward and there are veins in my heart that breaks and truly with the pain, I see the true meaning of the very world I live in. The Master demands its own audience, indeed. It is challenging, heartbreaking, funny, true, and a timeless classic.
Life itself is a journey and quite incalculable. In this very world, live two kinds of man; a man with no purpose and also a man, who in the beginning had no purpose, but decided to make something out of pretty much nothing. The film asks us: Can the heart and brain of the man be re-designed? – That’s what exactly Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman), the designer of the movement, which he calls “The Cause” is trying to do when Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix), a drifter, disturbed, damaged, alcoholic, womanizer, and a poor lover, crosses his path. The two establishes a quick friendship, Dodd, of course, wants two things from Freddie: Design a drink, something that Freddie is good at, so that they both can get drunk in one sip. So strong to make you say: Fuck! Yeah, even though if you are the founder of “The Cause.” The other thing that Dodd wants from Freddie is Freddie’s attention to The Cause. It’s absolutely fine with Freddie to also join Dodd in a shocking question and answer session. Freddie, in order to answer the rest of question in the second round, he must not blink. He must answer no matter what kind of questions Dodd is going to ask him.
Freddie travels with ‘The Cause’ members to New York, Philadelphia, and in each state, we are introduced to some challenging scenes, dialogues and performances. The Master is a film that can fit the genre of horror in my opinion. It emotionally eats one alive. Absorbs you thoroughly and makes you to question yourself. A question like: Man is truly capable of anything, huh? Joaquin Phoenix as Freddie Quell is scary, funny, perfect and just emotionally too good, yet very dark. It was hard for me to even blink. Once come Oscars, I believe, that Golden Statue should be in Mr. Phoenix’s hands. P.T. Anderson here as raised the bar as a film-maker, writer and a true artist. The Master is nothing else, but a true homage to art. Picture perfect cinematography, performances, dialogues, and above all, The Master is P.T. Anderson’s groundbreaking achievement. It’s about a war; a war with yourself as man. Freddie, despite the respect and love that he shares with Dodd as friends, spits his true feelings, in a jail cell in one of the scenes to Dodd. Freddie is an animal here. Unstoppable, maniac, but still the Master says, “No one loves you, Freddie. I am the only one, who loves you.” The two men do actually respect each other and as friends, the two does love each other. But, man here can’t be changed or his mind can’t be re-designed. It’s either the way you are born or the way you have designed yourself from the very start. Freddie finally this time with tears says to Dodd, “May be in another life.” To such statement, Dodd, almost in the verge of tears response to Freddie, “In another life, I’ll be your enemy, who will show you no remorse.” And, laughs, Freddie in tears.
The Master is challenging, disturbing and portrays who really man is. It demands its own audience like I stated, but truly, in my opinion, this film demands your heart, soul and brain. And, perhaps, your tears as well. Oh, and, where is the ocean, so I, too can sit and think that love is beautiful as much as it is dark.