- Published on Wednesday, September 19 2012
- Written by Greg McIver
I must admit, this has not really been a good couple of weeks for me when it’s come to the movies I’ve seen. I’d go into specifics, but my mother told me that if I didn’t have anything nice to say, then don’t plaster it on the Internet for the world to read. Last week, however, I finally broke my losing streak. Like an oasis in the desert, The Master suddenly appeared before my eyes and offered to take the pain away that the last few weeks caused me. Unlike the movement that is featured in the movie, The Master doesn’t just rely on intriguing ideas in order to be incredibly effective. It certainly has those, along with some beautiful cinematography to help make this a true movie-going experience as opposed to just a viewing of pictures on the screen. What The Master has that makes it an unforgettable movie, is two powerhouse performances from two phenomenal actors.
Over the years Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman have proven that they are not slouches when it comes to the art of acting, and this is no more apparent when you see them in The Master. When you see Joaquin Phoenix’s portrayal of Freddie Quell, you are going to applaud, then you’re gonna want to go take a shower, and then you’re gonna want to applaud some more. Freddie is a very raw and unsettling character that you want to feel sympathy for, but you might have some trouble getting past some of his more disgusting qualities. Phoenix’s portrayal is an absolute transformation, and I don’t mean they put a lot of makeup on him or anything like that. Aside from adopting a poor posture, the transformation is accomplished through sheer talent and dedication. He owns this movie, and I can only imagine that as soon as P.T. Anderson yelled "Cut!" on his final scene, he immediately started drafting his Academy Award acceptance speech. (I heard he wanted to start drafting it in the middle of his final scene, but fortunately cooler heads prevailed.)
Philip Seymour Hoffman ain't half bad either. I am kidding of course; Hoffman excels in his role as Lancaster Dodds. This character is an absolute puzzle. It’s very hard to get a fix on where he is coming from and what motivations drive him. He is charismatic, yet coarse. He seems to want to help people, but we can’t help but feel that his reasons may not be entirely pure. Despite all of the ambiguity that surrounds him, you cannot take your eyes off of him because he’s so gosh-darned compelling. Mr. Hoffman may not have been Anderson’s first choice, but I’ll bet that, after the two met, Anderson walked out of that meeting a changed man, and possibly with a bruised shin. Well, sometimes an actor has to fight to get the role he wants...
So, if you’re looking for a movie that features two giants of the acting world going head to head in a battle for their very souls, then definitely check out Finding Nemo 3D. After you’ve seen that, then check out The Master as well. Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman have set the bar high for the upcoming Awards Season, and I’ll be interested to see who’s up to the challenge of taking them on.
Greg McIver currently resides in New York City. He is a lover of film ranging from the classic to the contemporary. You can check out his other movie reviews and articles on film at www.nerdtopiacast.com.
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