Baptism of fire | Bangkok Post: lifestyle

Lifestyle > Art & Culture > Film

Baptism of fire

Male leads turn in scorching performances in soul-searching character study

- +

Nothing in Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master matches the freakish intensity of the milkshake moment at the end of There Will Be Blood, but here's another strange, affecting character study whose quivers come off from the acting: Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix holding court, while Amy Adams, gentle yet febrile, lighting a fire of neurosis and mystery from the fringe. 

Soul searching: Joaquin Phoenix plays Freddie Quell in The Master .

Like Anderson's Magnolia, with Tom Cruise as a cultish leader, and like There Will Be Blood, with its dual-core magnetism of the master-disciple death match led by Daniel Day-Lewis, the new film is a sombre showcase of American soul in a baptism of fire, with salvation on offer but never realised. That the character played by Hoffman is based on the founder of Scientology is much cited, but that's hardly the point (especially to us here) because the real focus is the man played by Phoenix, a World War II wreck who wanders the country like a cadaver looking for his own grave. Or for a rebirth, which probably amounts to the same thing anyway.

This article is older than 60 days, which we reserve for our premium members only.You can subscribe to our premium member subscription, here.

0 people commented about the above

Readers are urged not to submit comments that may cause legal dispute including slanderous, vulgar or violent language, incorrectly spelt names, discuss moderation action, quotes with no source or anything deemed critical of the monarchy. More information in our terms of use.

Please use our forum for more candid, lengthy, conversational and open discussion between one another.

  • Latest
  • Oldest
  • Most replied to
  • Most liked
  • Most disliked

    Click here to view more comments