I’m often hesistant to write a negative opinion on a critically-acclaimed art-house film such as “The Master,” since I fear that it would just come across as me not understanding the deep message of the movie and how I just don’t get it. But it’s not that I don’t get what P.T. Anderson’s “The Master” wants to say, it’s that I don’t care. “The Master” never really did anything to draw me in, or immerse me in this strange cult that the titular Master (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) runs, or do anything to make me care about this drunk (Joaquin Phoenix) trying to turn his life around. While Anderson’s style is often trippy and thought-provoking, especially in the many trips through Phoenix’s past, every character is either unlikable or brainwashed, but almost always unenthusiastic, aside from Hoffman. The standout scene is Hoffman delving into the depths of Phoenix’s mind and watching him slowly open up to him, watching that conversation unfold like taking the bandage off an old wound. It’s a rather unpleasant movie with gorgeous cinematography, but a lackadaisical pace and filled with characters that are often infuriating. For a modern arthouse film, it is servicable.
Final Grade: C