“You’ll be my protégé and my guinea pig,” Dodd says to Freddie shortly after their first meeting. There turns out to be a lot more to it than that. They are father and son, guru and disciple, passionate friends and bitter competitors locked in a relationship whose sexual undercurrents are as palpable and mysterious as the motion of water under the surface of the ocean.

-A.O. Scott

“I believe in the church of Paul Thomas Anderson. Hollywood films give you zilch to believe in, tying up their narratives with a tidy bow so you won’t leave confused and angry. Anderson refuses to do the thinking for you. His films mess with your head until you take them in and take them on. No wonder Anderson infuriates lazy audiences.”

-Peter Travers

“Anderson doesn’t commit to the inspiration for his movie; he doesn’t commit to anything, really. You walk out of ‘The Master’ baffled and frazzled, wondering what this sumptuous, commanding movie was trying to say or why it was even made.”

-Rene Rodriguez

Paul Thomas Anderson on the response to The Master :

“I love it; it’s exciting. I’ve seen films that I absolutely could not stand when I saw it. Or I just thought, ‘I don’t know what is going on here.’ Then five years later, you see it and you can’t believe you missed something or what were you thinking? Or the opposite: You see a film, and you think the heavens have opened up. Then a couple of years later, you’re not quite sure what the hell’s going on, what were you thinking?

 “Films should be like that. That’s great. They’re moving, living things. In different situations they’re different, you know? You walk into the theatre expecting something, or you’re in a bad mood, or you’re in a good mood — you’re open to anything. There are just too many issues going into a film to strike everybody as a (immediate) win, you know?”

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