There’s a scene in the film (it’s in the trailer, too so it’s not giving anything away), where one of the characters says “He’s making all this up as he goes along – you don’t see that?”.
Well I’m convinced that’s what director Paul Thomas Anderson was doing with this film.
It consists of a series of episodes in the lives of the two main characters (played by Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix), but it just doesn’t go anywhere. The characters don’t develop or evolve, there’s no resolution to anything, and to be quite honest, I was bored.
Hoffman and Phoenix are both huge, but end up cancelling each other out in the scene-stealing stakes. The real class act is Amy Adams, who is sharp and chilling as The Master’s wife.
I don’t always expect a conventional beginning, middle and end to a film, but I do expect to be drawn in by some aspect. This time, all I really wanted was for someone to please make it stop.
Emperor’s New Clothes.