Monday, February 25, 2013

The Master

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

The Master – 4 out of 5

Congratulations Joaquin Phoenix! Your performance in this film nearly made me forget about your failed Andy Kaufman-esque stunt…almost.

"Where's your bathroom?  That gas station tuna sandwich is not sitting well."

The Master tells the tale about a WWII Naval Veteran who is battling anger issues, alcohol abuse, sex addiction and trying to settle into a life outside the war. After being run out of every attempt at a normal post-war life, Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) stowaways on a ship that houses a charming religious leader to an organization called The Cause; Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman). Dodd is quick to take in Quell and take a liking to him despite how uncomfortable he makes the rest of those involved in The Cause. Dodd works to quell Quell’s (see what I did there?) problems with booze, women and violence as he simultaneously tries to spread his teachings to the world even though his wife Peggy (Amy Adams) frequently expresses her doubt of Quell’s commitment to The Cause.

"Bitch, don't even."

One of the biggest things I enjoyed about this film was getting to see Joaquin to once again return to what he does best: Acting. There’s never been any doubt of Phoenix’s ability…that is until I’m Still Here came out and he made us all doubt his ability to act when he decided that growing a hipster beard and acting weird to try and prank the world with a mockumentary was somehow the same as him pretending to be Johnny Cash. After watching that film, I thought I would never see him go back to what brought him to the ball. That is until The Master came out.

"Sir, this is a department store.  You don't need to take your clothes off for the picture."

Phoenix is just amazing in his role as the tortured Quell and is mirrored by Hoffman in his cool and quite eerie character of Dodd. Both men carry the film well and keep the film’s story from dragging—and this movie has a LOAD of potential to drag as the story isn’t the vastest and the tone of the film is extremely heavy. Granted the film’s plot has some troubles as it tends to make some jumps within Quell’s story and I found myself at a few points wondering if I missed something but this didn’t happen too often and wasn’t a major distraction. It just required the viewer to be paying attention.

Pictured:  Hoffman stopping Phoenix from doing I'm Still Here 2:  Still Here-er.

Originally, his character was going to be called R. Lon Rullard.
One of aspects of the film I enjoyed the most was the parallels the film had to a very notable cult church. One that’s become quite famous in recent days thanks to many celebrities drinking the Kool-Aid and praying at the alter of L. Ron Hubbard and Lord Xenu—I’m speaking, of course, of Scientology. Hoffman’s slight resemblance to the crazy science fiction author and creator of the Church aside, much of The Cause’s teachings mirror that of Scientology—Xenu and thetans are mysteriously absent though. According to a legitimate and respected news source (read that as Wikipedia) some Scientologists within Hollywood requested that the film not be made because it made their church look crazy (the irony is clearly lost on them). That being said, I’m not a Scientologist but the film’s parallel to that nutso religion (I mean nutso in a nice way—please don’t sue me, Scientology) was one of the most interesting things about the film and was even able to overshadow Phoenix’s epic performance.

"Get your thetans check...all hail Xenu!"

Hey...sand boobs!
The Master is a strong, emotional story of a lost man trying to find solace in religion when he’s lost in the world he no longer knows and it’s played out with incredibly powerful performances from two men who have proven their abilities time and time again. And now praise needs to be given to me for making it through an entire review of a film called The Master without making a single masturbation joke! Yep, when I sat down to write this I thought to myself that I believed that I could whip it out and really crank out a great review without resorting to immature jokes that would ruin the payoff I worked so hard to climax to. Thanks, that’s it for me! Remember to tip your waitress!

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