The Master

Rated 3.0

The Master: Joaquin Phoenix plays Freddie, a troubled World War II vet who returns from a stint with the Navy a little messed up in the head. He’s having trouble finding his place in the world, and he’s constantly swigging lethal alcohol drinks made of anything he can find in the medicine cabinet or tool shed. He’s prone to major mood swings and violence. His relationships and jobs aren’t working out, and his drinking is getting him into a lot of trouble. He winds up a stowaway on a luxury yacht where he meets Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman), leader of The Cause, a cult-like movement with more than a few similarities to Scientology. The two wind up strangely dependent on one another as they both battle different demons. Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood) the film features great performances, but also has a vibe of been there, done that. It’s worth seeing for the Phoenix-Hoffman fireworks, but not one of Anderson’s best.