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1 item from 2012

The Master – a masterclass in film

2 November 2012 5:00 PM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

The Master confirms Paul Thomas Anderson as the only American film-maker of his generation who could be mistaken for a junior member of Hollywood's golden age

Hollywood's prestige season is upon us and, despite a parade of heavy hitters, including Steven Spielberg's Lincoln and the Wachowski-Tykwer adaptation of David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas, no potential Oscar winner is more ambitious – or more likely to provoke discussion regarding its meaning and intent – than Paul Thomas Anderson's sixth feature, The Master.

Anderson's subtly disorienting, deeply engrossing study of the symbiotic relationship between charismatic cult leader Lancaster Dodd, magnificently played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, and his disturbed follower Freddie Quell, indelibly embodied by Joaquin Phoenix, is a panoramic chamber drama. Punctuated by persistent close-ups, it's an extended two-shot epic in its sweep.

The first production to avail itself of the great clarity afforded by 65mm in the 16 years since Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet, »

- J Hoberman

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