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The Master Blu-ray Review

The Master Blu-ray

“The Master” is worth a watch thanks to strong acting and intriguing characters.

The plot: A lost, angry, alcoholic, sex crazed ex-sailor named Freddie drifts from job to job in his confusing post-war life until he finds himself on a boat. While randomly on this boat, Freddie discovers he has crashed a wedding of Lancaster Dodd’s daughter. Lancaster, who has his own religion known as “The Cause,” takes a liking to Freddie and is oddly inspired by him. Lancaster decides to take Freddie under his wing to try and help him (and employ him), but in reality, Lancaster is trying to justify his own mumbo jumbo line of work to make himself look and feel legitimate.

Paul Thomas Anderson, who is undeniably one of the more fascinating directors currently working, has had rather unorthodox journey through cinema. PTA was fast becoming a master of quirky, unique, and provoking cinema with films like “Hard Eight,” “Boogie Nights,” and “Punch-Drunk Love.” Lately, however, he has become a much more serious and arty filmmaker with “There Will Be Blood” and now “The Master.” While his recent work may be more mature and rich, I can’t help but miss the PTA of old. Now, that’s not to slight his recent work (“The Master” included) as he has managed to coax some of the finest performances of the last 10 years out of his cast members. Just look at Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman as Freddie and Lancaster (both of whom were nominated for an Oscar). Even if “The Master” isn’t the most eventful (or accessible) film, you can’t deny that these two light up the screen with scenes like Lancaster’s interrogation of Freddie or the “blow-up” in jail. Not to be forgotten here is Amy Adams who also earned as Oscar nomination as Lancaster’s strong wife Peggy.

So, now you know the acting is good, but how is the film itself? It’s safe to assume that PTA’s screenplay (and direction) will divide filmgoers. First of all, “The Master” does not have a traditional structure. The movie jumps around in time, drifts along at a puzzling pace, lingers on long shots, and features some truly bizarre transitions and scenes (see the sex act scenes for reference). If you can look past this and go with the flow, you might find yourself getting swept up in this interesting albeit perplexing character study that delves into subjects of change, religion, regret, friendship, life, love, therapy, and exploitation.


If there’s one thing that can be agreed upon, it’s that the film is beautifully shot. From the desert scenes to the oceanic shots, cinematographer Mihai Malaimare Jr. will wow you with the visuals. Note: The film is presented in 1.85:1 1080p

The 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio track is a little on the soft side. As with any PTA film, it’s very sound heavy with lots of dialogue, yelling, and music, but I can’t help but feel like the track could have been stronger.

* DVD copy and digital copy.
* A postcard.
* 9 teasers/trailers for “The Master.”
* “Unguided Message: 8 Minute Short/Behind The Scenes”- Random fly-on-the-wall cameraman footage of the sets, crew, scenes being filmed, etc.
* “Back Beyond: Outtakes, Additional Scenes, Music By Jonny Greenwood”- A hodgepodge of scored and narrated deleted scenes strung together. Odd (much like the film itself).
* “Let There Be Light”- The best extra on this disc is not connected with the film. Instead, it’s a John Huston documentary that inspired PTA’s “The Master”. It’s a fascinating 58 minute piece about World War II veterans receiving treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Summary: “The Master” isn’t PTA’s best work nor will it appeal to everyone, but it’s still worth seeing just for the acting alone.   

February 27, 2013 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , ,

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