The Master Toronto Film Festival 2012 Programme released:
One of the most anticipated films of the year, Paul Thomas Anderson’s tale of an aimless WWII veteran (Joaquin Phoenix) who befriends the charismatic founder of a new religion (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is a provocative study of male camaraderie, deception, and hubris.
In just five feature films, Paul Thomas Anderson has commanded a position at the very pinnacle of American cinema. His work is debated, studied and adored for its narrative innovation, its dynamism, and most of all for its sheer cinema. To watch the work of Paul Thomas Anderson is to watch movies at their most alive.
For The Master, he has chosen a provocative premise which he pursues with patience rather than sensationalism. In an arresting return to the big screen, Joaquin Phoenix plays a troubled soldier in post–World War II America. Stripped of every common civility, he rages through life like an animal, unable to keep a job, to attract a woman, to live in his own skin. By chance one night he jumps on board a docked ship and stows away as it sets sail. He soon discovers that the ship belongs to one Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman), the charismatic founder of a new religion. With his wife (Amy Adams), Dodd probes the unconscious minds of his subjects, driving them to reveal hidden vulnerabilities. The cerebral Dodd and his feral stowaway appear to be complete opposites, but they strike up a surprising friendship. In scenes of sometimes shocking soul-baring, the two forge a primal bond — until the disciple begins to question his master.
Like all of Anderson’s films to date, The Master is a study of masculine power: the risks men take, the control they seek, the wars they wage with one another. The context of a twentieth-century, man-made religion is a potent one, allowing Anderson to illuminate new aspects of his recurring themes. Hoffman, Phoenix and Adams give the film the depth only great actors can bring, and the spare score by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood (who also scored Anderson’s There Will Be Blood) amplifies the film’s ability to unsettle.
So too does Anderson’s decision to use the cinephile’s ultimate visual palette — 70mm film. Flying in the face of the rapid shift to digital cinema, The Master was filmed in that high-resolution widescreen format, and will be presented in 70mm at the Festival. The effect is cumulative, and ultimately shattering.
|Friday September 7|
|Princess of Wales|
|Saturday September 8|
|TIFF Bell Lightbox 1|
|Sunday September 16|
|TIFF Bell Lightbox 1|