The Master (Anderson, 2012)

A self-important movie about self-importance. Incomplete, beguiling, pressurized to the point where any one moment feels entirely combustible. Love this thing when it’s about the failures of communities of all kinds to prepare their members for the world beyond their ideological/philosophical borders. It’s near baffling, abstract melodrama the rest of the time. Every frame feels so extremely calibrated that there’s no room to breath, nothing but suffocation. Joaquin Phoenix is indeed astonishing, but the film around him, like Dodd and the rest of the characters, has no idea what to do with his Freddie. He’s just there, toiling in the ether. Now what?

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