I saw P.T. Anderson’s new film The Master last night, and though the range of feelings I experienced during and after watching the film could best be summed up by Huh?, I can say assuredly that The Master was an exhilarating filmic experience and I can’t stop thinking about it. Can’t stop experiencing it. The score, composed by Radiohead’s Johnny Greenwood, is rattling around inside my spleen. The acting, particularly that of Jaoquin Phoenix, was mesmerizing, eerily real, lovingly wrought, the kind of performance that will loom larger than all others, even Johnny Cash, on his resumé. Some of the scenes keep replaying in my mind and even worked their way into my dreams last night.
The film is not so loosely based on certain portions of the life of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, here a facsimile named Lancaster Dodd and played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, though that might be misleading. It’s not a biopic. It’s not even linear. There’s no bow tied onto the end. It’s unsettling and confusing and totally engrossing, shot in gorgeous 70mm.
Check out the trailer. But, really, check out the movie. You may end up hating it, but you kind of have to see this one.