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Jul 7, 2006

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams

Loosely based on scientology, this film is less about the cult it involves and more about its main character, Freddy Quell. Quell is a deeply troubled man; an alcoholic with a family history of mental illness and a "nervous condition" from his time in the war. The best aspect of the film is probably Joaquin Phoenix's portrayal of Quell - this character has a few layers to him and Phoenix vacillates between drunken buffoonery, perverse lust and a scary intensity easily.

In the end though I feel like this is a very flawed film. Paul Thomas Anderson seems intent on keeping things so subtle it just feels... vague. We never get a clear idea of any character's true intentions, beliefs, or progression. We're never sure if Quell has truly been changed by his experiences. We're never sure if the Master truly believes his own religion, and if not, what his motivations are for continuing the charade. We're never sure if Quell believes either, or what, exactly, the Master's influence on him has been. We're never given a really solid idea of why Quell and the Master even have the connection they seem to.

In the end there has been no plot, but neither have you learned anything about the characters, which is a pretty big failure.


sleeptides fucked around with this message at 06:14 on Nov 12, 2013


Sep 2, 2004


"This was a hard one. I wanted to give it a 95+ because the acting and story were absolutely incredible, but I can't. The pacing was so drat tedious, I felt like I was watching a Malick flick. I'd like to say I'd watch this 10 more times but PTA made it absolutely unnecessary to do so. He detailed his vision so much so that I never NEED to see this again, nor do I really want to. No re-watch value equals no masterpiece. Beautiful film though."

SA Score = 4/5
Criticker score = 85/100

Sep 2, 2004


Please delete

fucked around with this message at 15:00 on Feb 27, 2013

blue squares
Sep 28, 2007

Anderson is my favorite director. Magnolia is a film I can watch endlessly. This one was such a disappointment. It's like they hired the best director, actors, cinematographers, and everything else in the business, but then forgot to actually write a plot.


Dec 30, 2004

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS

The look of a movie is what really sells something to me, so even with a boring plot I loved this movie.

PT Anderson is my favorite. The cinematography is maybe the best I've seen. Phenomenal performances. Suffers from King's Speech syndrome, where it is kind of droll yet captivating and beautiful.

(Cinematography really goes a long way for me)

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