Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is full of winking humor that makes for a great palate cleanser for the child torture of Temple of Doom. But it is the much more tongue-it-cheek style that keeps it from being as immortal a film as Raiders of the Lost Ark. I have also seen this film so many times over the years that I have a personal interaction with it.
What to make of The Master? I had been so looking forward to this (NOT) based Scientology (well, sort of) drama from a great director and some of the best actors in the game. Here’s what I walked away with:
Paul Thomas Anderson is a challenging director. He doesn’t take an easy path to his films, pushes you as a viewer, gets incredible performances out of everyone, and has no desire to make anything comfortable or ordinary.
The film has a compact story. Very little happens – and what happens isn’t of much substance. This isn’t a movie to find out how it ends. It essentially comes to a conclusion of little surprise and then the credits roll. Paul Thomas Anderson films dn’t typically stick to standard film arc or character development. If it wasn’t for the acting in some of these dialogue driven scenes, the film could easily have lost me. Film will surely be nominated for the Oscar in Picture, Writing, and Director. But The Master isn’t a masterpiece. It is about its parts. And the acting is chief among them.