The Master (2012)

“You can’t take this life straight can you?”

This time around (my fifth? sixth?) I really latched onto the movie as a rumination on performance and specifically its contrasting of acting styles. Phoenix represents the angry, visceral, tormented style birthed in the 50s (your Brandos, your Deans, your Monty Clifts) while Hoffman bulldozes his way through as a larger-than-life showman raconteur (Welles, Sydney Greenstreet, Charles Laughton). The Cause therapy sessions have more than a passing resemblance to method acting classes too. As soon as I started imagining Phoenix as a post-crash Monty Clift I couldn’t get the physical similarity out of my head. Love this film. Like liquid, it appears differently and more malleable with every encounter. An elusive, beguiling masterwork which is also vulgar, impulsive and sweet. Not surprised PTA considers this his finest hour. Are these the greatest final lines in film history?

“Stick it back in. It fell out.”

Watched on blu-ray.

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