Topic: The Master (2012) review
Film makers for the most part make the best films of their career at the beginning of their career. They are full of youth and passion, love and hate, revolution and in essence they simply have more intriguing stories to tell. Its very few and far between that a filmmaker actually makes their best films later in their careers. Now I’m not saying that Paul Thomas Anderson is at the end of his career (hell some could argue this is just the beginning) thats the last thing we need. PTA is one of the finest filmmakers of all time; but 19 years into his career he makes the seminal masterpiece “There Will Be Blood”. There Will Be Blood can be argued as the greatest American made film since Pulp Fiction, and one of the greatest pieces of cinema of all time. So to come off a film of the magnitude of There Will Be Blood; PTA had to try something ballsy. Now thats a hell of a statement be it he is not a filmmaker that takes an easy route. Every film he has made has been taking a risk and every single one of them are regarded as classics and some of the best modern if not all time greatest cinema. Paul decided to tackle a subject in the same vain as Scientology, with two of the finest actors working in cinema today. The Master at first glance though is a stunning 65mm cinematic masterpiece that would make the likes of Jack Cardiff, Sergei Urusevsky, Sven Nykvist, Karl Struss and yes even Paul’s old time DOP Robert Elswit blush with envy. Paul has rid Robert of his DOP duties this time around to see if he can make a film without the man who helped him make every single frame of his work; and not only do that but go even further by taking a huge risk on 70mm film and a relative newcomer that Francis Coppola helped bring to America, Mihai Malaimare Jr. Mihai simply shines here. The complexities of his simplicity is something to truly behold. This like TWBB is its respective years best cinematography picture and the Academy need to recognize it as such. From little rooms to the vast beauty of the outdoor shots, you can’t take your eyes off the screen.
If you do however get pulled away from the beauty of Mihai’s cinematography; Johnny Greenwood’s score is nothing short of brilliant either. With deep influence from the masters of score Greenwood has put together a haunting and bone chilling score of such pin-point accuracy to the images; this could be watched with nothing more than score and images and be held as the best picture of the year. With the accompaniment of vocalists this time around, Greenwood has made a score of equal brilliance to TWBB and this fresh and vibrant yet haunting score will most certainly become something that young composers look to in the future of the art form.
But now we get down to the nitty gritty of what i'm sure will be discussed about this film for as long as people are discussing film. This is a best picture winning film. It is so technically great that I don’t think you can over look it sheer brilliance come awards time. It’s the film that is so good that it can't win Venice (Please look this up if you don’t already know...). But where The Master is going to lose most of its audience is its sporadic way of telling a story that frankly isn’t that much of a story. This is more of an experience, with a traditional 3 point structure thrown out the window. And this makes the film something that needs to be cherished. The characters are not relatable and it’s more on a path of a dream than an audience friendly film. If you are not an intelligent person, or you don’t like intelligent films this is absolutely not the film for you. Its a structure that would make Terrence Malick blush. But this film achieves such greatness with that style that I hope audiences finally start to become more intelligent and cherish films like this.
The acting; well what can I say. Philip Seymour Hoffman gives the performance of his career and so does Phoenix. And when they are on screen together especially 3 key moments this is acting at it finest, hell its filmmaking at it’s finest! I'm honestly still speechless from the film and can’t bieleve I got this much of a review out. This is a life changing film, and something that will be held un certain regard for as long as we talk about cinema. The film has one hell of an ending and As I would like to end this off like that, I just don’t think i'm that good. I’m sure a better review will come from me when I have digested the film and seen it at least 12 more times. This is a tour de force and Tarantino has his work cut out for him with Django to try and beat this.