Although I found it incredibly difficult not to get my hopes up about a film that had received mass amounts of critical praise (as I had been looking forward to Paul Thomas Anderson's so called "Masterpiece" for months on end) I walked into the cinema to see The Master with good expectations, rather than great ones, just in case I was in fact let down.
The Master, a 135 minute arty-drama piece is sure to sweep every major award ceremony this season. It is both aesthetically beautiful in its cinematography, in addition to being wonderfully acted. Headed by Joaquin Phoenix in his first lead role since hilarious documentary I'm Still Here, Phoenix’s character Freddie Queller is a recently discharged World War II vet. who is lost, alone and suffering from major anger issues. He meets Ron L. Hubbard... I mean Lancaster Dodd, an author and leader in a controversial movement known as 'The Cause'. Queller finds himself drawn into the aura, and blatant lies of Dodd, played by the ever fantastic Philip Seymour Hoffman, and soon becomes one of his most loyal followers; much to the dismay of Dodd's son, Val (Jessie Plemons). Despite the fact Freddie may be enamoured by the new figure in his life, his manic and alcoholic tendencies swirled in with the nature of The Cause lead him down a path of chaos and destruction.
The script is incredibly strong, with amazing on screen chemistry between Queller and Dodds. Although The Master is a solid piece, the film sags and drags in places, which can often make you feel as if certain scenes would've been better left on the cutting room floor.
Hoffman is the most crooked, sly yet well-presented "villan" in recent cinema history. But I did in fact find myself slightly let down by the events of the film, purely because its explosive dialogue scenes were few and far between. Plus, they could’ve given Amy Adams, who played Lancaster’s wife, Peggy, a hell of a lot more to do.