Like Anderson’s previous films The Master is a hypnotic experience, populated with characters that are un-redeemable and complicated human beings. Joaquin Phoenix is a naval veteran and the portrait of the American post World War II drifter, his journey unfolding in a non linear way after he arrives home from war unsettled and uncertain of his future, happening upon the cult like ‘The Cause’ and its charismatic leader. Philip Seymour Hoffman as the head of the aforementioned group is not unlike a simmering volcano, softly wooing his followers, exploding to draw them further into his beliefs. It is a brave movie, Anderson effortlessly drawing powerful performances from his company of actors, in what may be career highs from such a strong cast. Uncomfortable, ambiguous in many ways, challenging and artistically stunning (the 70mm format offers colour, depth and tones that are lost in digital capture – making for an authentic look of the period), The Master is a movie many directors and studios are just not brave enough to make anymore. AB
After returning from the Second World War, having witnessed many horrors, a charismatic intellectual creates a faith based organization in an attempt to provide meaning to his life. He becomes known as "The Master". His right-hand man, a former drifter, begins to question both the belief system and The Master as the organization grows and gains a fervent following.