Today! Because if you leave me now, in the next life you will be my sworn enemy –
The Master (2012)
Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, Laura Dern, Rami Malek, Jesse Plemons, Kevin J. O’Connor (x2), Ambyr Childers, Christopher Evan Welch, Jillian Bell, W. Earl Brown, Kevin J. Walsh
One of the decidedly less accessible but undeniably brilliant Paul Thomas Anderson films of recent years, The Master is his rage-acted takedown of Scientology-esque “religious” cults of personality. Typical of PTA’s movies, the acting here is first rate – Hoffman’s work as the L. Ron Hubbard of The Cause, Lancaster Dodd, is riveting madness, topped only by Phoenix’s hyper-intense take on the shattered war vet Freddie Quell. Less bombastic but still gripping is Adams as the power-behind-the-throne wife of the cult leader. All three would rightfully get Oscar nominations, but all would lose in the absolutely stacked year of 2012. Okay, I could see Hoffman topping Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained, his always struck me as an odd win, but what, was Phoenix’s volcanic work really going to win out against Daniel Day-Lewis as Abe Lincoln? Or was Adams realistically going to beat Anne Hathaway for singing “I Dreamed a Dream” in Les Mis? 2012, man – it’s one of the greats.