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Reading the movie reviews about the movie, ” The Master”, and the plot/description about the movie, i was inspired and really looked forward seeing the movie. It was said to be about Scientology, which currently is a hot topic because of its controversies, mysteries and since i know little about cults in general, and specifically Scientology – outside of what’s available on the internet, having reviewed the 200 question personality test on which i wrote an article ( see How Dangerous is Scientology, or is it ?) – i was curious if the film will give the viewer more insight into what it’s all about. I was also intrigued by the title, ” The Master”, always having wondered what it is inside many of us seeking to serve Masters, become voluntary slaves to serve someone else’s ideals, etc. thus went to see the movie this afternoon.
It was one of the longest movies i’ve seen – not because of the actual length of the movie, but because it seemed to go on forever with nothing really happening. There was no suspense, no plot unfolding, and never once was i allowed to feel like a voyeur, which is essentially what makes movie going fun = to be a voyeur who witnesses actions about the main characters the other characters know nothing about.
The biggest problem with the movie was that the main element needed in any story line, novel or film was missing = a Protagonist. There was no Protagonist – no good guy – no one to root for.
Joaquin Phoenix plays a former navy man who appears to have lost his way due to alcohol and a terrible temper that exhibits itself through violent aggressions throughout the movie. The exact cause for his anger is never explored, aside from that no one really cares enough about the character to learn why he is so angry.
His two main interests appear to be sex and alcohol. That’s about it. Freddy ( Joaquin Phoenix) eventually finds himself on a ship Captained by ” The Master” ( Philip Seymour Hoffman) – a self-made guru novelist believing he can cure the ills ( Physical and Psychological) of people by having them remember their past lives.
If ” The Master” ever healed anyone, we, the audience, don’t know. He most certainly tries to heal Freddy from his alcoholism and anger, or so we’re made to believe – or can choose to believe – but he fails and Freddy’s personality never changes.
If only there had been a hero in the end of the film, someone who actually becomes his own master, showing the audience that all it takes is to say ” I am what i am”, in the sentiment of Moses, perhaps, succeeding to not only set his people free, but himself as well. But there was none of that ; there was no ending, no resolve, leaving the audience puzzled wondering what the film was all about.
Pseudo-intellectuals have intellectualized the movie, but Peanuts ( the cartoon) can also be intellectualized if so one chooses, just to out oneself as a pseudo-intellectual.
The major reason why everyone should see “The Master” is to realize that movie critics are just people, people who can be wrong and don’t reflect the taste of the majority of movie goers; and that those feeling they have to agree with a movie critic – just because it’s a well known movie critic – are not their own Masters.