The Master: Review

The Master (2012)

Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams.


Unable to adjust to post-war society, an alcoholic US Navy veteran finds himself before the charismatic leader of a philosophical group. Gradually indoctrinated into the group, will the teachings and principles lead to his redemption or destruction?


The Master is a film which I was really quite looking forward to, going into the film theatre. For the sake of those who haven’t yet seen it, I won’t reveal much more regarding the plot than what’s been said already, because the delight in this film lies in the reveal and portrayal.

I was fortunate to see the film projected through its 70mm format. With a film like The Master, that revels in each shot and is swollen with visual charm and charisma and colour, every frame is luscious, and digital projection loses a good amount of such qualities. It makes a huge difference with this film in comparison to say, Silver Linings Playbook (2012) perhaps, so if you have the choice then enjoy it in its fullness and clarity.

For the first time in months, my hopes were exceeded, and as the final credits rolled, I was an astounded puddle of wonder and awe.  This is a quietly brooding, hypnotic tale, voiced with fierce intent and gorgeous precision.

The acting, if I can reduce those mesmerising displays to a word so trivial, is extraordinary. I truly won’t forget how the performances excel any other film I’d see in weeks. The three leads are hauntingly impressive, and each is a work of genius in its own right.

The Master is an excellently crafted work of beauty that is made to test and frustrate its audience. It’s devised, written, performed, shot, edited, scored and shown with a dazzling vibrancy that would surprise anyone, anywhere.

I think you should see it immediately and only once… to preserve the magic in your memory.

Have a spectacular day.