A cult is forming around the new film by Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood), and followers are already calling it an Oscar contender and one of the year’s best films. But I’m not a believer.
The Master stars a fiery Joaquin Phoenix as a troubled war veteran and a flawless Philip Seymour Hoffman as a charismatic leader of a movement clearly inspired by L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology.
Sounds great, right? Unfortunately, this movie never fully explores the man behind Scientology, choosing to focus on themes of masculinity and the extremes of human behavior. Maybe. Or perhaps it was a piece about ego. Or maybe it was all just a bromance. I forget after all the dream sequences.
The first half of the movie will pull most viewers in, but ultimately the story is too elusive and too ambiguous to satisfy.
Simply put: There Will Be Confusion.
Award potential: This film may ultimately be remembered for its two Oscar caliber performances. Bet on Joaquin Phoenix for his memorable character. Expect Philip Seymour Hoffman too.
Contender for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenwriting, Best Original Score and more, but I expect that full list will lose momentum by February.
The ten buck review: Perhaps in another life. Not worth ten bucks