This month’s movie selection was Jeff’s and he chose The Master which I had heard absolutely nothing about. Some of the writing below has been pilfered from some different sources.
It is a story of Joaquin Phoenix’s damaged World War II vet, Freddie Quell, who struggles to adjust to post-war society and prone to violent and erratic behavior. He meets Philip Seymour Hoffmann’s charismatic charlatan, Lancaster Dodd, the leader of a philosophical movement known as “The Cause” who invites Freddie to join him and his followers. Dodd does an exercise with Freddie called “Processing”, where he asks Freddie disturbing psychological questions. Their relationship is powerful and twisted and strange enough that maybe that’s all the movie needs to be about.
Kenneth Turan wrote: “Phoenix, known for immersing himself in Oscar-nominated roles makes Quell frighteningly believable.”
Scott Tobias wrote: “It’s a feisty, contentious, deliberately misshapen film, designed to challenge and frustrate audiences looking for a clean resolution. Just because it’s over doesn’t mean it’s settled.”
Less enthusiastic was Roger Ebert who gave the film two-and-a-half stars out of four. He wrote that it was “fabulously well-acted and crafted, but when I reach for it, my hand closes on air. It has rich material and isn’t clear what it thinks about it. It has two performances of Oscar-caliber, but do they connect?”
The production company officially denied that the film was based on Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard but there are numerous parallels are drawn in this riveting bit of cinema. While I will not consider it a favourite, as I am not the biggest fan of such intense storytelling, it was done well.
My selection next month will be Bohemian Rhapsody with Rami Malek. So what do The Master and Bohemian Rhapsody have in common? Rami Malek had a smaller part in The Master playing the son-in-law of Dodd and he will have a large part in Bohemian Rhapsody playing Freddie Mercury. Looking forward to watching that one.