The Master

The Master ★★★★★

As expected, it hits different on 70mm. I noticed so much more, I felt so much more, and it rejuvenated my love for this, dare I say, masterwork. I was obsessed with this movie for a while, but I somehow missed several details that a theater screening cleared up. It could also just be the gift that keeps on giving- a piece of “content” or “entertainment” that is so assured and mind stimulating that you’re bound to gain more out of it if you seek it. The ocean shot transitions are Freddie’s frame of mind, as the film felt like waves throughout, the fun, carefree moments almost immediately followed by or preceded with the utmost awkward cringe situations. Joaquin Phoenix’s performance is so convincing and truthful that it allowed him to play the most famous villain in history (Arthur Fleck is Freddie Quell on cruise mode), a cheeky grey character with so much passion from its actor that you can’t help but love the guy.

The same can be said for Philip Seymour Hoffman and his command of the screen, it provides film structure. Lancaster Dodd singing “Slow Boat to China” incapsulates the essence of the movie- a Scientologist-lite ringleader wants a love that he’ll never have (a scene even more melancholic after PSH’s passing). Amy Adams is ridiculously creepy here, it’s Claire Underwood with a nurturing twist. It’s somehow still not the most tragic film in PTA’s filmography (Magnolia is programmed to wreck you), but it’s perhaps the unofficial peak of many peaks of this still relatively young filmmaker. If he’s Kurt, then consider Jonny Greenwood and Mihai Malaimare as Dave and Krist, a trio that makes it look so easy (or in some scenes, have you saying “how the fuck did they pull that off?”). As cliche as they sounds, this is 2001-level Kubrickian hypnotism. I’ll leave it at that.


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