A former member
Post #: 2
Shall we deconstruct "The Master"?
Looking forward to your replies.
All the best,
James
Rob
user 12128104
Chicago, IL
Post #: 5
I loved it on every single level (script, acting, camerawork, editing, sound design ... all delicious).

I thought the plot was driven by a kind of love story between Lancaster Dodd and Freddie Quell. You might say Dodd found in Freddie what he didn't find in his own boy -- you might say Freddie was a wild part of himself that he wanted mor of, but his repressive wife had locked that down and put it off limits -- or you might say Freddie signalled the arrival of his muse, and on an artistic level Dodd loved his muse -- or you might say Freddie was actually an object of affectionate attraction in and of himself -- any/all of those interpretations works. But whatever -- Dodd was smitten and Eddie became some kind of intimate focus with which he wanted to grapple.

But Freddie -- because he was not truly an equal of Dodd's in sophistication or possibilities -- rejected him, and energetically so (at the same time, defending Dodd when he felt Dodd to be misunderstood or slighted ... another sign of attraction. "Can't live with him, can't live without him").

But Dodd singing that final song to Freddie -- Slow Boat to China -- was both a lover's plea and a heartfelt statement of jealousy (in plain English: "If I can't have you all to myself, I'll ruin you. I'll follow you and make your life miserable.")

Of course, this combustive relationship of impossibility and thwarted love also stands in as a terrific metaphor for anything which we long to give ourselves over to, but can't because we know it's not quite healthy, true or real. Which ticks it up another several levels, and points to PTA for so masterfully welding those two layers together. What a tight picture!

I'm going to be rewatching this one many times, I'm sure. Can't wait for it to come to the Music Box in 70mm There was more than one shot that felt like things going on just offscreen or partially offscreen were not ... quite as intended by PTA.

A former member
Post #: 3
Thanks for joining this discussion, Rob.

All the reviews I read were gushingly positive except Rex Reed's. Did you read it?

Is there a sense in which the story was about a love/hate relationship b/t two seemingly immovable evil forces?

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