Carried by a stratospheric Joaquin Poenix, The Master is the film by Paul Thomas Anderson that happens the better to combine virtuosity and formal emotion.
The sea, battered by the wake of a boat. Disorderly but consistently, constantly changing, in motion. Here’s the plan-the inaugural of THE MASTER, the 6th feature film of Paul Thomas Anderson. A symbolic plan that could be summed up in itself all that is in the movie. And what is Freddie, the main character. This veteran of the 2nd world war, preview from the next plan, who must rebuild her life now that the conflict is over. It is now necessary to reinvent, (re)find.
THE MASTER is a film about the wandering. The first 20 minutes, brilliant, is punctuated constantly leaks, as an eternal recommencement. We identify fairly quickly which character we are confronted with Freddie. A kind of crazy, unpredictable, worked inwardly by an evil-to be unfathomable, which is going to meet his master. This duo of figures master/student, Paul Thomas Anderson has already potassé before in his films (Hard Eight and Boogie Nights). Freddie has all of the character typically hasndersonien. He is alone, without family, without home, plagued by an existential anxiety. This is because it is only that there has to be a master, destined to become his substitute family. We remember Boogie Nights, where Eddie émancipait of a family in which there was no place to find Jack as a surrogate father which suited him. In the construction of the characters, we can say clearly that THE MASTER is the film that is closer to Boogie Nights.
Past this point of comparison, THE MASTER is based on another dynamic as that of the second trial of Paul Thomas Anderson. The staging is now more mature, more composed, less abundant in the movements of the camera are spectacular. A shift has already begun with the magnificent There Will Be Blood. We feel that his cinema has taken on another dimension with these two films, it gains in thickness on the writing and effectiveness, while continuing to embrace the ambition that characterizes it in the design of its projects. One has the impression that since Boogie Nights, and except Punch-Drunk Love, he tries to make his great film the entering the pantheon of important writers of the american cinema. This is why he links the two topics on featuring important moments in american history. THE MASTER has a visual style very attractive, by the light but also the reconstitution perfectly successful. Paul Thomas Anderson comes close to his characters, in fact, less funds for playing to the gallery (this makes Magnolia his film with the most needy, in my humble opinion) while still managing to be a package of plans for a precision evil that remains in the retina. The opportunity to say thank you to 70mm and cinematographer Mihai Malaimare Jr, the two major players of the success visual.
After this visual delight, what we have left that is of course the duel Joaquin Phoenix/ Philip Seymour Hoffman. This scene, in the field-in contrast-only (and “only” is not a pejorative), in which Lancaster asks Freddie to respond to him without blinking an eye is a moment in cinema absolutely enjoyable, where two monsters of charisma transcend the moment. The scene is all the more beautiful that it is mounted in parallel with a flashback, allowing the spectators to apprehend Freddie as something other than a simple fun a bit crazy. Phoenix perfectly embodies this unpredictable man, his histrionics that some might find cumbersome is in perfect keeping with the character of the one that it embodies. The pathetic touching hides in the air, this is dopey. This aspect characterizes a good number of characters andersonien already seen in other movies before (Dirk Diggler and Little Bill in Boogie Nights, John in Hard Eight, Barry in Punch-Drunk Love). Reduce the provision of Joaquin Phoenix at the mere histrionics is, in my opinion, rather unfair. It is, when it is necessary, a touching restraint at times more enrolled in the emotion (the last face-to-face, the flashbacks). And the stage direction is intelligently positioned in the withdrawal. Up to now, we had rather chosen Paul Thomas Anderson for his many moments of bravura filmmaking, and it is interesting to see him combine virtuosity formal emotion. In this sense, THE MASTER is his film with the most accomplished.
”By combining skill and formal emotion, Paul Thomas Anderson is The Master of his film the most accomplished.”
The February 2, 2014, Philip Seymour Hoffman left us suddenly. The shock is immense. From Boogie Nights to The 25th Hour, passing by The War According to Charlie Wilson and Truman Capote, it is easy to find a movie in which we have been able to see it. In total, more than forty projects in the space of a little over 20 years. In the flood of his filmography, a film director returns on a regular basis : Paul Thomas Anderson. The director has asked for 5 of his 7 films, where he is past simple appearance to the time of a scene (Hard Eight) main role (THE MASTER). Something is being built between these two men. A close relationship that took time to reveal its true form and that the tragic outcome imposed by the life brings a fascinating beauty. Of what to give Philip Seymour Hoffman the opportunity to live a parallel life, episodic, whose point of honour is THE MASTER.
Remember’Hard Eight, in which he stood, for a few small minutes a young man defying Sidney in a casino. It was flippant, provocative and, above all, annoying. From film to film, he has gained a little more presence, while not endorsing never one of the first roles. This is done with THE MASTER and what a role ! As if Seymour Hoffman embodied by one and the same character who grows over in the filmography of Paul Thomas Anderson, until it reaches its maturity. The director felt that it was time to close the loop. The young dog crazy that he was in Hard Eight is now a wise old sage, taking a dog crazy under his wing. 2 years before his death, it was his last great role. Uncanny similarity, his death comes at a time when it is reaching the end of its growth within the filmography of Paul Thomas Anderson. A beautiful parallel is created, giving another dimension to a film already rich.Rich because it does not rely on the scheme a strict master/pupil, but redefines the relationship as the film progresses, with the climax a breakaway in the desert in the form of failure to Lancaster. In a travelling sideways to the right, Freddie abandons it. This frame contrasts with the previous one where the Lancaster was flying in a dolly to the left. It is this same movement of device ponctuait the latest leak from Freddie before meeting his master… In the end, Freddie has found his way, but not in the sense that would have liked to Lancaster. He became aware of the company completely fake, built by the guru. We suspect even his wife (the excellent Amy Adams), on the corner of 2 scenes, to be the true director of this company.
The last exchange between the two men is indicative of the sham. “If you find a way to live without serving a Master, any, then tell us, okay ? Because you will be the first person in the History of the world.” said Lancaster, the voice full of emotions. An explicit avowal, with the understanding that his protege will not remain with him. Lancaster has decided to be a master to not be a subject. Freddie will enjoy it all during the last scene reproducing, with a young naked woman, the interrogation he was subjected to. No, it is not made to be a guru leader of the small soldiers. It has not so changed in the 2h of movie. It is also found flirty, crazy. After having spent his time dwelling on the lost time, this impossible love, he understands that there is no going back, but that he must live that which is to come. His best therapy has been to learn that the one he loved decided to live his life. He has to live his own now.
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• Achievement : Paul Thomas Anderson
• Scenario : Paul Thomas Anderson
• Main actors :Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams
• Release Date : 9 janvier2013
• Duration : 2h17min