The Mysterious Master


Just saw The Master.  No, not the TV series with Lee Van Cleef playing a ninja (I’m not kidding), though I have seen that as well, but I digress.  Anyway, some random thoughts.

1. For a film with some of the most unpleasant characters ever, it is unbelievably beautiful to look at.  How is it that it wasn’t nominated for best cinematography this year?  The mind boggles.

2. Joaquin Phoenix is genuinely frightening to watch, on a wholly different level than some other unglued characters I’ve seen on cinema.  Why is that?  I thought of Robert De Niro’s Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver.  As messed up as Travis was, I understood him.  I never understood Frank Quell, ergo, I was terrified of him and his inscrutable actions.

3. As strange as this may sound, Crispin Glover’s George McFly came to mind when I saw the way Phoenix physically held himself in this movie.


4. Overall, this is a movie to be admired but not felt.  In a way, it reminds me of the way I feel about the very best modern art – which is never as much as I wish it to be.  The talent is obvious.  The themes are bold.  But it’s as if I’ve been invited to an interesting party whose reason for being is never clear.

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