Nick Schager Reviews The Master

A taut, unnerving thematic follow-up to There Will Be Blood as well as the work of Stanley Kubrick, Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master investigates the line between bestiality and civility through the 1950 story of Naval veteran Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) and his burgeoning relationship with new age guru Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman). With a hunched, gaunt body, his arms habitually on his hips so that his elbows stick out like jagged wings, and speaking out of the side of his crooked mouth, Quell is a physically and psychologically twisted individual who, returning from war to work as a department store photographer, spends his days snapping shots of happy faces unlike his. Driven by base urges to drink, screw and lash out against the world with violence, Quell is an uncoiled spring.

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