Street Date: February 26, 2013
Available On: DVD and Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy Combo
The Film: Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) is a carnal man with a violent temper. This makes him an odd friend for Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman), the religious leader of a movement known as The Cause, who upon meeting Quell instantly welcomes him into his inner circle. Will Dodd save Quell? Or will Quell bring out the more base qualities that Dodd is trying to repress?
The Extras: Outtakes and Deleted Scenes, trailers, a behind-the-scenes featurette and “Let There Be Light,” a documentary from 1946 by John Huston about WWII veterans and the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Recommendation: Acclaimed director Paul Thomas Anderson’s (“There Will Be Blood,” “Boogie Nights”) films tend to cause fervor amongst critics and film buffs alike. “The Master” was regarded by many as one of the finer films of 2012 (Academy Award nominations went to Phoenix, Hoffman and co-star Amy Adams). The story may or may not be based on L. Ron Hubbard with the “The Cause” a veiled reference to Scientology. For me it is a film about a man who struggles to live up to his own lofty ideals despite an internal desire to give into the various excesses and temptations of life. The presentation is a bit too clinical for my tastes, but the performances are fantastic and the journey intriguing.
Because the film was mostly shot on 65mm “The Master” is as visually impressive as any movie I’ve seen on Blu-ray. It may not dazzle in the way a special-effects-laden blockbuster does, but it is nonetheless a beguiling experience.
The bonus features are a bit disappointing. There is ample amounts of unused footage (spread out between the teasers, trailers and outtakes), but very little of anything else.
-Ryan Michael Painter