DVD Reviews

DVD Review – The Master (2012)

Paul Thomas Anderson, director of There Will Be Blood and Magnoliagave us a remarkable film in 2012 called The Master. Based loosely on the life of L. Ron Hubbard, creator of Scientology, The Master follows the story of a young war veteran, Freddie Quell, suffering from post-traumatic stress who stows away on the boat of Lancaster Dodd, founder of a religious group called The Cause. Freddie, as well as being a sufferer of post-traumatic stress disorder is an alcoholic sex-addict and concocts his own ‘potions’ out of domestic items such as paint thinner or fuel. Dodd samples some of his moonshine and says he will help him for more alcohol in return.

Lancaster sees something in Freddie he is very fond of and Freddie feels the same way in return, so Freddie joins Lancaster and his followers on their trip along the east coast of America as they spread the word of The Cause. An unfortunate altercation lands Freddie and Lancaster in prison and soon after The Cause and Freddie’s worlds fall apart. A powerful, emotional and supremely unique film about a broken war veteran’s struggle with regaining control of his own mind. The subjective undertones of brainwashing and nonsensical teachings plays favour to those doubtful of Lancaster’s methods similar to those of Hubbard in recent times. The end result will leaving you questioning who ‘The Master’ really is…

Amongst others, The Master was nominated for various Academy Awards including best actor for Joaquin Phoenix as Freddie Quell, best supporting actor for Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Lancaster Dodd and best supporting actress for Amy Adams as Dodd’s wife, Peggy.  All deservedly so, Phoenix is breath taking as the crippled Freddie and his breakdowns are heart wrenchingly pure, similarly the raw power and authority of Lancaster will send shivers down your spine.

It’s certainly a difficult watch and will require a fair amount of concentration to follow as the narrative and editing is at first a little jarring, but allow yourself to be swept up in the masterful cinematography and beauty of 70mm film as it fills your television screens. Wholly immersive, intellectually challenging and above all sublimely acted, it’s definitely worth a go.

Further Reading in the Information Store:

The Master – DVD ZONE – 791.43 M
Counselling for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – BOOK ZONE – 361.06
The Secrets of Scientology (DVD)  BOOK ZONE – 299.936

Magnolia – DVD ZONE – 791.43 M

There Will Be Blood – DVD ZONE – 791.43 T


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