Indiewire has collected many of the tweets for Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master, which has been having pop-up screenings here and there. Last night, the film screened at The Music Box. The best review of it is also on Indiewire. The reactions have been twofold. Viewers are dazzled by what they see, in some cases, moved. But they need time to think about the story, time to digest what it means. One suspects that it could be a film revisited over many years to really suss out its meaning. Though this reviewer digs in a bit – Roger Ebert was one of the critics there last night so look for his review, too, to pop up:
Memory indeed plays an integral part of Anderson’s narrative, as Freddie seeks to run from his tortured past (his father died from alcoholism, while his mother was institutionalized) while also wanting to repair it, but the emphasis is placed not so much on the events that the characters remember, but the charged emotions behind them. Of course, it’s inevitable that comparisons to “There Will Be Blood” will be made, since both films focus on entrepreneurial men seen from simultaneously a detached and intensely personal point of view, but those claims only go so far here.
Jonny Greenwood’s score remains the most analogous aspect, with its wood-based, off-kilter compositions, but as a whole, “The Master” plays instead like the heart-stopping strings at the opening of ‘TWBB,’ only settled into a simmering pattern waiting for their next leap. With his incredible DP, Mihai Malaimare Jr., and production design team of David Crank and Jack Fisk, Anderson absolutely nails every period detail he’s going for, from costumes down to the impeccably crafted visual style. Speaking of which, if there was any doubt Anderson had about shooting in 70mm, the opening shot of crystal-clear, vibrant blue sea should dismiss those thoughts entirely. There is an immediate and immersive quality to the image here, and combined with the film’s sustained atmosphere of dread, it is altogether an experience at which to marvel.
Twitter reactions can be found here.