Despite strong performances from Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman, this Master is more of a novice. A lead character with seemingly no humanity could make for an interesting movie (like There Will Be Blood, Magnolia) but Phoenix’s character never comes across an anything more than unstable, selfish, sad, and creepy. He has no real arc…if he’s changed, we have no idea how. Hoffman’s character is much more interesting but this isn’t his story…which is too bad. The religion and its methods are fascinating but once again the movie doesn’t dive into specifics…another missed opportunity. Too many scenes that seem random and/or artsy slow down a film that already goes at a snail’s pace. By the end, the audience is left with a movie that, much like its lead character, goes nowhere.
Stormy Curry

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