Author Topic: The Master - Spoiler-Free Thread  (Read 275038 times)

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Convael

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Re: The Master
« Reply #150 on: February 10, 2010, 11:19:50 PM »
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I didn't read it. I just had it.
If you still have it could I see it?

Gold Trumpet

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Re: The Master
« Reply #151 on: February 11, 2010, 04:11:41 AM »
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I would send it to you, but don't have it anymore.

But that should not stop you from getting it. Does anyone here have that famous 2005 draft that was floating around? I know lots of people had it.

Gittes

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Re: The Master
« Reply #152 on: February 13, 2010, 10:02:33 AM »
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One of the recent comments responding to cigarettesandredvines' post about the script:

Quote
I just thought of the One Act show that PT wrote/directed/staged at Largo in 2008. I'd completely forgotten there was a Scientology-themed sketch-- really funny take on a stress/personality test (aka audit). Clearly this is something he's been interested in for a bit. (ahem, 1999?)

I really wish I could see the Largo show...

picolas

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Re: The Master
« Reply #153 on: February 13, 2010, 10:25:06 PM »
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i thought the new pages might be playlist-worthy so i had some correspondence.. they didn't write a story about it but have gotten hold of the script:

i have the script now. it seems legit. why would anyone go to the trouble to make a fake of it?
and yes, it's a thinly veiled.... maybe not attack, but it's certainly about the nascent beginnings of Scientology.

It does feel like a first draft and is a bit rough around the edges.

Gittes

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Re: The Master
« Reply #154 on: February 14, 2010, 02:24:28 AM »
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I can't wait until PTA starts talking about the film.

Derek

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Re: The Master
« Reply #155 on: February 14, 2010, 04:26:44 PM »
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Not that I'm complaining, because he is my favorite filmmaker...but it seems he's explored the older man/younger man theme pretty thoroughly in 4 out of 5 films already hasn't he? I know, you can make the argument that he's looking at it from a new angle or fresh perspective. But that would be semantics.
It's like, how much more black could this be? And the answer is none. None more black.

classical gas

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Re: The Master
« Reply #156 on: February 14, 2010, 04:38:51 PM »
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yeah, but all the best do that.  i like finding common themes in director's films, it gives them more of an identity.

picolas

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Re: The Master
« Reply #157 on: February 17, 2010, 03:44:10 PM »
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theplaylist.blogspot.com

(xixax gets a shout out in the hyperlinked version when they mention message boards/pta zealots)

An In-Depth Look At Paul Thomas Anderson's 'The Master' Religious Cult Screenplay



A script purporting to be Paul Thomas Anderson's untitled new drama, which centers around religion — affectionately being dubbed "The Master" by many — has been making the rounds.

Let us reassure you. It's very real.

However, due to one relatively incoherent review on the The Cinematic Experience of Forizzer (that's since been cleaned up, but still wantonly rambles), and then the subsequent leaker (Forizzer), desperately trying to prove its authenticity on various message boards by posting pages from the script, it's legitimacy has been called into question (the whole doth protest too much catch 22). Other skeptics taking a too-literal look at the initial trade reports, are also calling his review apocryphal because the script in question was dubbed the "Untitled Scientology Project" and the trades explicitly stated in the announcement that the film wasn't about Scientology.

But let's assure you, that's a red herring. While "The Master" (as we'll call it here for the purposes of this review) is perhaps not a out-and-out screed or attack on Scientology, not recognizing the strong, strong ties, allusions and specific references to that cult religion is itself, is either blindness or ignorance (though to be fair, PTA zealots have nitpicked the hell out of Forrizer's message board defense posts — though again a doth-protest-too-much defense will backfire).

We would be worried about spoilers and revealing too much if it weren't for the fact that this version of "The Master" is a very, very early draft — there's a litany of spelling errors and abbreviated scenes with "tbd" or "etc." written in as placeholder for where more context and description will soon come.

However, so much is laid down, so much fleshed out, and all with that hurried pace that can be so compelling about Paul Thomas Anderson films. It careens a little in the beginning, wanting to establish a lot in a short amount of time (i.e. the opening of "Magnolia," though not quite as lightning fast), but it's clearly his voice and work. No other yokel out there can write a fake 124-page screenplay and be this precise or good.

As for the Scientology ties, they've been evidently brewing for quite some time now. You'll remember in August 2008, PTA put on a top secret play at Largo that starred his wife, Maya Rudolph and her SNL c0-star Fred Armisen. The play centered on a series of vignettes and one in particular focused on a couple, "getting to know each other over a complicated personality test." What many people didn't realize at the time is that personality test questions were taken from what is known as the Oxford Capacity Analysis, a free personality test that is given by the Church of Scientology (and that's been confirmed in the comments section here by someone actually in attendance at the Largo show).

While people have been ravenous for details and what the picture was exactly about, Variety spelled out the picture quite well when they first reported the story and said it, "explores the need to believe in a higher power, the choice of which to embrace, and the point at which a belief system graduates into a religion." And that's on the money with themes of sublimation of self, lack of identity and perverted ideas of solipsism.

Using their initial description, we'll give you a modified synopsis:
“The Master” is the story of a charismatic intellectual (Philip Seymour Hoffman) who hatches a faith-based organization that begins to catch on in America in 1952 called The Cause. The core dynamic centers on the relationship between The Master and Freddie Sutton, (Paul Dano) an aimless twenty-something drifter and alcoholic who eventually becomes the leader’s loyal lieutenant. As the faith begins to gain a fervent following, Freddie finds himself questioning the belief system he has embraced, and his mentor.
Here's your first clue. Scientology was founded in 1954. A significant chunk of the screenplay takes place on a boat so "The Master" is free to write his next cult tome (Book II, "The Dual Saber") and not be distracted by the outside world and the criticisms that are constantly dogging The Cause. And similarly in in the late '60s, L. Ron Hubbard also lived on a Panamanian ship for quite some time and allegedly up to four years. The references are myriad.

So "The Master" essentially starts when an aimless Freddie — an amateur moonshine alchemist who is on his way to drinking himself to an early death if he continues this way— stows away on a ship after a toxic mix of his brew accidentally blinds a Filipino migrant worker he is toiling away with on a farm. Fearing he has potentially killed the man, Freddie's instincts are nothing but basic survival (another recurring theme in the screenplay) and aggressively drunk himself, he reaches for the first form of escape.

The ship however is the aforementioned vessel of the Master and the followers of The Cause including his children Mary-Sue (the name of of one of L. Ron Hubbard's wives), Norman Conrad, Elizabeth and the faith-wavering son Val (to further the connections, L. Ron Hubbard Jr. also condemned his father and the church in a 1983 Penthouse interview, though Val is nowhere near as traitorous).

Instantly discovered on the ship by the close-knit cult, Freddie's drink is drugged and then he's interrogated by the highly paranoid Master who wants to know who sent him to spy on their community: The AMA? The APA? The CIA? (This paranoia would not be unfounded by L. Ron Hubbard, in 1977, Scientology offices on both coasts were raided by the agency). This tęte-ŕ-tęte is one of many excellent back-and-fourths scenes between Master and Freddie. Run how we imagine a Scientology "audit" session is run — a sort of quasi psychotherapy stress test cum interrogation/ authoritative hypnosis via repetition session — the scene is a series of rapid-fire, bare bones question and answers.

Freddie, the skeptic, answers truthfully and reveals much in near grunts. The Master, establishes his dominance and genius and wields a bumbling, word-heavy, lyrical style of speaking. Anderson is so talented in building his characters through dialogue, giving them quirks of speech, misspelling words to emphasize accent. Here, Anderson, barely, if at all, writes action lines. It's all dialogue and nothing else for a few pages (this may also be because of how early a draft this is).

Freddie reveals some personal darkness from his past and the Master — perhaps sensing guinea pig possibilities — gets hooked. After making sure as best he can that the young stow-way isn't some spy or a thief after the renaissance man's secret manuscripts (he calls himself a doctor, a writer, a philosopher, apoet, etc.), he welcomes Freddie into the fold, impressed by his blunt instinct, and talents for making tasty homemade liquor. And the Master — believing they had met in a previous life — takes a shine to his "scoundrel" ways. Cynical, bemused and completely weirded-out, Freddie is introduced to the ways of the cause, the concepts of "time-holes," the interrogation-like psychotherapy sessions and regression work that's supposed to transport us back into our earliest memories of suffering in order to banish and own them (a very basic tenet of Scientology). "Shall a man be his master of his memories? Or shall his memories be the master?" Seymour Hoffman's character posits at one point.

For those that worry about spoilers that leads us up to about the end of the first act and many of these details would be in one of those detailed Apple trailer synopsis that are about three paragraphs deep.

Suffice to say, in what seems like a story that spans over a decade — though it's tough to say exactly how long — Freddie graduates from a naive dilettante to a trusted right hand man who does the Master's bidding and often uses intimidation tactics. The story, in a way, is the battle for Freddie's soul which has been seduced by the dark charms of the master, but even that is far too simple a description to this layered, mysterious and at times very ambiguous tale.

The key to "The Master," and what might make it a difficult sell, is not its story — in many ways like "There Will Be Blood" not a lot happens plot-wise, there are few "big" scenes — but its odd enigmatic tenor which are not unlike those moments in "There Will Be Blood" where mystery and purposeful uncertainty rule (think the sequences where we're unsure whether Dano has a twin or not, or whether the man claiming he is Plainview's brother is actually who he says he is). And again, like 'Blood' which used Upton Sinclair's "Oil!" as a starting off point,' "The Master' screenplay seems to use Scientology in the same manner to examine and explore cults and megalomania.

The tenebrous enigmatic story does have strange, noteworthy and twisted scenes of sex, incest, polygamy, adultery and wild flashes of rancor from the Master that Daniel Plainview himself would be proud of. PTA seems to have seized upon dark, spiritual forces at work in recent years and Messianic figures. From the plague of frogs in "Magnolia," to the raging hubris of Daniel Plainview and The Master, he is clearing exploring spiritual themes and men with a God complex. One hypnosis-like scene where a woman regresses to a pre-natal time when she is back in the womb and remembers her father having sex with her mother is particularly creepy and striking.

Universal apparently won't greenlight this approximately $35-million-dollar budgeted project until they read the script and you can see why. In many ways, it's a film with a more twisted mien than "Doubt," but just as low-ley and with small stakes. Then again 'Blood' had a similar vibe on the page, but boiled over into something much more operatic thanks to the eerie score and the volatile electricity of Daniel Day Lewis.

Still, Universal won't be greenlighting this version, but it's probable that no on was meant to see this draft yet. If intelligent dramas are being threatened with extinction of late (or at least at a certain budget), surely this could become a problem for PTA eventually. But more than just a chamber drama, the shadowy and cryptic elements of this story could be pushed in the marketing — sort of like 'TWWB' to suggest something otherworldly and not just a period piece about religion set in the '50s.

What one comes away with during "The Master" is that PTA's a damn confident writer. He has a great deal of faith in his audience to either get-it or at least hang on for a deeper-than-usual ride the gets stranger and odder as the film comes to its conclusion. There's eloquence in the loopy metaphors of the master's monologues. It's like his determination to tell the story becomes part of the momentum or heartbeat of his films.

"You write who you are and what you know," PTA told Moviemaker magazine in 2000. "But you also cheat and you write what you want to be. It’s a little embarrassing, sometimes, to be the guy that made the movie, knowing that I’m not exactly what I want to be."

Need a little emotional and spiritual guidance in your life? "The Master" suggests that The Cause can help you help yourself. — [with additional script notes by Andrew Hart and graphics courtesy of M. Morrison]

modage

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Re: The Master
« Reply #158 on: February 17, 2010, 03:56:08 PM »
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That was AWESOME. 

I'm not sure why the Playlist lists Dano in the synopsis, but one of the commenters says "I don't think he was/is. Everything I've heard is that an offer is out to [Jeremy] Renner."
Christopher Nolan's directive was clear to everyone in the cast and crew: Use CGI only as a last resort.

picolas

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Re: The Master
« Reply #159 on: February 17, 2010, 04:42:28 PM »
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that's much more exciting.

Stefen

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Re: The Master
« Reply #160 on: February 17, 2010, 04:58:44 PM »
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Were they making fun of us?
Let's go to a motel. We don't have to do anything -- we could just swim.

Pozer

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Re: The Master
« Reply #161 on: February 17, 2010, 07:58:33 PM »
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The tenebrous enigmatic story does have strange, noteworthy and twisted scenes of sex, incest, polygamy, adultery and wild flashes of rancor from the Master that Daniel Plainview himself would be proud of. PTA seems to have seized upon dark, spiritual forces at work in recent years and Messianic figures. From the plague of frogs in "Magnolia," to the raging hubris of Daniel Plainview and The Master, he is clearing exploring spiritual themes and men with a God complex. One hypnosis-like scene where a woman regresses to a pre-natal time when she is back in the womb and remembers her father having sex with her mother is particularly creepy and striking.

 :shock:

Pubrick

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Re: The Master
« Reply #162 on: February 17, 2010, 08:07:42 PM »
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Were they making fun of us?

oh definitely. but they really have it in for Forizzer69. they just be hatin cos he got the scoop first.

they can't honestly fault anyone for being a shit writer considering their constant misspellings, even of abbreviations! "TWWB".

otherwise great synopsis and script review. they go on a bit about the plot but that's not gonna prove anything. what i'm interested in is the content, the themes, and key phrases. they provide ONE crucial bit of dialogue which more than anything else confirms that this is the work of PTA, it's almost too perfectly PTA:

Quote
"Shall a man be his master of his memories? Or shall his memories be the master?" Seymour Hoffman's character posits at one point.


this is clearly a variation on "we may be through with the past.." and in general the idea of the past affecting the present, while the present is majorly concerned with the idea of trying to begin again! this bit of dialogue is actually really amazing and likely to be pivotal in understanding the film. it makes clear the scope of the film since it deals with spiritual themes and good old redemption, the master obviously does not refer only to the leader of the cult but to the leader of mankind. it concerns itself with finding the very first thing that needs to be overcome, that has been done in previous PTA films as i talked about in my primer thread, but in this case the idea of "first thing" has evolved to "most basic, fundamental thing" that is put in front of us that needs to be overcome after which we will better know ourselves. the idea of identity is not just a "who am i, who was my father" but rather who are WE. the quick firing questions and "grunt like" responses of Freddie signal an attempt to break through to the most primal response, which Freddie is fully in touch with as the script also alludes to his survival instinct.

but it's not just survival in the darwinian sense, but the evolution of a much more pertinent thing that lies at the core of PTA's approach to understanding of self and the world, that is the evolutionary miracle of language. the best review/analysis of CMBB that i ever read focussed on the use of language by the characters and the POWER of the words Plainview spoke, obviously bluntly confronted when his son went deaf. that only estbalishes precedent so i don't sound like i'm making shit up. this time The Master has wielded a similar ability to control language and the Q&A confrontation described, among others i'm sure, but especially this one in the first act seem to set up Freddie as primal in the sense of his naivety but also in his formation of his basic foundation of being a human.

the other thing which makes sense from this perspective is the allusion and direct presentation of extreme sexual imagery.. the descriptions of incest and especially the idea of a woman being inside her mother as she is conceived take the idea of primordial exploration to amazing territory. expect some really advanced theory in this film. there is no reason to assume PTA is just repeating himself, as with every film he has only developed the themes he explored before. this could never be a complaint since he has presented each film in a completely different way, short of pulling a kubrick and masking his repetition of theme under new genres, the reason he continues to hammer on the same themes is because he has found something greater beneath his previous meditations. he's trying to drill a deeper well with each film, and his loyalty, devout adherence to his belief that he's on the right track is what's creating such amazing original and profound works.


Boogie - Strangelove
Maggie - 2001
PDL - a very faint Clork (a different kind of rage, in the final scene he "was cured alright")
CMBB - skipped most of Barryndon and went straight for The Shin.
The Master MUST be FMJ.. by way of The Shin if "time-holes" has anything to do with it. and possibly by way of missing elements of Barryndon


the difference between pta and kubrick i think is that kubrick took longer to react, by the time he showed his hand the moment had passed, which gave him both 20/20 vision - he presented his ideas with total and impeccable clarity - but it also gave it that cold feeling ppl are always trying to describe. pta is calling it as he sees it. his faster reaction makes his films the equivalent of Freddie's grunts but his grunts are in fact extremely eloquent.
endless 'nothing is what it seems'-isms

Gold Trumpet

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Re: The Master
« Reply #163 on: February 18, 2010, 05:32:13 AM »
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Yea, description of some key scenes in this project are fascinating. Paul Thomas Anderson can approach them in two different ways. One way would be to create a visual identity for the whole story that makes those scenes feel seamless in the film. Earlier examples of a film making its visuals feel incorporated and whole would be 2001. Of course the Master would have to exist on a different visual plane, but PTA would try to make the disturbing scenes feel integrated into the psyche of the story.

The other route would be what Pedro Almodóvar often does and that is create little short films for explicit and disturbing scenes that feel separate from the rest of the story. This approach has advantages in that it breaks up the flow of the film and takes the audience out of a comfort level. Nobody expected a rape sequence to look like what it does in Talk to Her, but PTA could create some visual vignettes within his film. It would be a different route for him.

The better guess is that PTA heads toward the former option. If anything, his progress since Magnolia has been that he's taking tonal features in storytelling more seriously. Punch Drunk Love and There Will be Blood have visual unity to them that actually makes Boogie Nights and Magnolia feel like they were done by a different filmmaker. Boogie Nights is a mosaic of visual constructions while Magnolia is an attempt at some visual unity, but the story has highs and lows that offset the tonal unity. Plus it contrasts too many quiet scenes of little style with wild scenes of high visual style.

Also the former option exhibits the greater challenge. Films like 2001 make wild visual scenes easy to believe because a person's mindset is already accepting the fantastic with a space story, but the Master would have to create a new visual reality when the majority of the story is based in reality. At first thought, it seems daunting to believe Anderson can create a style that makes a pre birth sex scene feel logical to the tone and mindset of the story. The exciting thing is that the Master presents a lot more wild ideas to make rational for artistic expression than anything in his other films.

md

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Re: The Master
« Reply #164 on: February 18, 2010, 03:52:55 PM »
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I can't wait until PTA starts talking about the film.
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