Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix
A lot of people speculated this to be about the beginnings of Scientology, but Director Paul Thomas Anderson has said there were a lot of cults that started up in America after the war and the film was not directly related to L. Ron Hubbard's particular cult. Either way I couldn't get Scientology out of my head while watching the film. Which was sort of a distraction because the underlying message has nothing to do with them.
Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) is released from the Navy after WWII with psychological issues. He is basically a drunk with anger management issues and has no direction in life. By a drunken chance he literally stumbles across L.Ron.. I mean Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman) AKA. "The Master", a well educated and accomplished leader of a cult that deals in past lives and other crazy shit.
This is not your mainstream film, I found it intriguing none the less. Phoenix and Hoffman are mesmerizing in their performances, so too Amy Adams and Laura Dern. There are scenes that go nowhere but it's these moments in he film that say the most. When the camera sits on Joaquin Phoenix face for ages and you watch the shadows and expressions change... genius.
Freddie is trying to find the love that he selfishly gave up after the war to chase his own demons. "The Cause" might have the answers in filling the deep void that stoops him over, but in the end it's just nude sandcastles in the air... ROBDIDO