By David Salazar
To call director Paul Thomas Anderson "The Master" of the modern film would not be far from the truth. Throughout his still brief career, PTA (as the film world affectionately refers to him) has brought the world only a brief collection of six films to marvel upon, but quality and innovation has always been his signature. His latest endeavor entitled "The Master" may be his boldest film yet as it encapsulates the very different journeys of two men lost in a post World War II world and seeking out wholeness.
The film is essentially an ambitious and quasi-scientific dissertation on free will and human connection. Anderson's central guinea pig is Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix), a soldier returning to America after the war. Freddie's experiences in the war seem to have dehumanized him as he strays and behaves in primitive and animalistic manners. Satiating his basic instincts seems to be his modus operandi as he has sex with a sand woman on the beach, and seeks out every possible means of quenching his alcoholism. After being rejected by the world on several occasions, he finds himself before Lancaster Dodd (Phillip Seymour Hoffman), a man who claims to be a scientist, writer, philosopher, doctor, you name it. Dodd leads a group known as the Cause in which he seeks to explain how humans are connected to their past lives and that by traveling to those past memories over trillions of years, they can finally arrive at peace and health. But like Freddie, Lancaster is also rejected by the world for his radical thoughts and his cult-like practices.Continue Reading