The Master

dir. Paul Thomas Anderson

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One of the most critically acclaimed films of 2012, 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.

Silver Lion, Venice International Film Festival 2012

Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor (Philip Seymour Hoffman), Toronto Film Critics Association Awards 2012

In the astonishing new film from lauded American auteur Paul Thomas Anderson, Joaquin Phoenix makes an electrifying return to the screen as Freddie Quell, a troubled veteran who returns to a post-WWII America that seems to have no place for him. 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 — until a chance encounter brings him into the inner circle of Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman), the charismatic founder of a new religion called "The Cause," an amorphous mixture of quasi-science and half-baked mysticism that promises its adherents access to previous existences and untapped mental resources. Though they appear to be complete opposites, the cerebral Dodd and the feral Quell forge a surprising friendship and an almost primal bond — until the disciple begins to question his master. Shooting this intimate epic in the astonishing widescreen clarity of 70mm film, Anderson creates a work of both striking visual texture and profound psychological mystery, while the magisterial performances of Phoenix, Hoffman and Amy Adams (as Dodd's deceptively meek, terrifyingly iron-willed wife) are a testament to the seemingly inexhaustible richness of contemporary American screen acting. Engrossing, unsettling, at times almost shocking, The Master is one of the essential films of 2012.

Presented in 70mm.