No. The Master is neither difficult to interpret nor about the central relationship of the two leads. (I don’t care what that PT Anderson guy says.) The Master is about the power of memory and the inability to erase it. Now, what exactly is happening just a few short weeks after the tour de force (what does that even mean?) through the festivals and a not-so-much-a-race for fourth place domestic opening? What Master?
Yes, perhaps it was all a bit too painful. Oh, Roger Ebert, was it just too much? All of that reminiscing through your life made it too difficult to undergo the processing of Paul Thomas Anderson’s devices? So that leaves that scrappy, unwieldy Joaquin Phoenix to lead your Oscar night charge? Yeah yeah yeah, screenplay, cinematography, supporting actor, score all have a fighting shot, but let me finish. Let’s talk Picture. Dropping like a rock. I think it’ll slide into that category with the help from more enthusiastic, but niche #1 votes (like Tree of Life), but so far as the discussion of who is competing for the top spot, it has no traction anymore. In its abscense all we’re left with is a grasping for the flavor of the moment, never settling, always searching. “If you blink we start again.”