The Master - SPOILERS!

Started by polkablues, August 18, 2012, 01:41:45 AM

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Jeremy Blackman

Starting now, for every plot hole complaint that appears this thread, I will euthanize a kitten. Samsong and Tictacbk, that means you. (I'm including Tictacbk preemptively.) The Master is like swiss cheese, and that's part of its beauty. It has gaps everywhere: gaps in time, gaps in space, gaps in logic. The rug-pulling that the trailers do is an obvious extension of that.

Anyway, if people really need to know how Freddie got to England and found Dodd... there were ways to England in the 1950s, and The Cause wouldn't have been difficult to look up.

I love the way Freddie fights. It's so bizarre and comical, like he's messing with people and shuffling them around. Instead of throwing punches, he sort of pulls and wrestles and tangles with them clumsily. Like he just wants to play. As for the scenes where Freddie beats people up in defense of The Cause, I think he's just being tribal. It's his family/tribe they're insulting, and he reacts like a primate.

What's really fascinating right now is all the business concerning things that didn't happen or might not have happened, i.e. the "imagine" vs. "recall" question. This must be one of our big opportunities for interpretation. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that during Freddie's first processing, it was clear that at least some of the flashbacks to scenes with Doris had NOT actually happened, that half-remembered or complete fantasy bits were materializing in his mind. That's my position until a repeated viewing or until someone can convince me otherwise. Those fragments reminded me so much of Inland Empire's "reliving" scenes.

@ Brando & Kellen - Beyond what I've said above, I really doubt they "hooked up in one of Freddie's drunken binges," because the film (or I suppose Freddie's memory) purposefully describes Doris outside of that world; instead she is sort of encased in this gauzy adolescent memory place, before things went wrong.

Also, I'm not sure there's anything in the film to suggest Freddie had quite so many "problems" before the war. In fact it's surprising that PTSD has not yet come up in this thread, because that really popped out for me. It's even the thing that frames the entire movie in the full-length trailer: "There will be people on the outside who will not understand the condition you men have." Most of Freddie's "drifterness" involves his ineptitude at readjusting to civilian life, as each job ends in conflict and combustion. That and his seeming lack of mission are endemic of veterans with PTSD. Which, by the way, seems like a very special thing for Dodd to have in his gallery of curable ailments.

After the film, I was tempted to conclude that this is simply Freddie's nature, that "processing" can't cure his animalness, etc. But it seems that The Cause is correct, in a way; Freddie has a real ailment (PTSD) and can probably benefit from treatment. The Cause helped him a bit, at least temporarily, but I think regular therapy would have done at least as well. Which is a fairly major indictment of The Cause.

But as indictments of cults go, it wasn't as harsh as most of us expected. There's obviously something else going on. It's not a bleak picture of brainwashing and servitude; that's been done before. Instead, we get a view of a cult in its foreboding infancy. They're still refining their ideas. They are somewhat undisciplined and inconsistent. But we see all the makings of a cult, from Dodd's creepy nickname to Peggy's paranoid vigilance concerning outsiders, which begins to spread. So I actually do think it was sufficiently ominous. I also loved how I was so charmed by Dodd during the movie, and then it starts to sink in: oh, right, maybe he is a charlatan, and I guess I'm really not sure he believes everything he's saying.

I totally agree about PSH outperforming JP. I loved them both, but PSH has layers upon layers, and, as cbrad mentioned, this is yet again by some miraculous defiance of physics unlike anything he's ever done before. I can't do justice to either performance, so I'll just stop trying to describe them.

One of my favorite parts of the movie, for whatever reason, was the scene where Peggy is off on one of her composed rants while Dodd is typing away. It felt like one of the coked-out scenes from Boogie Nights. The camera movements were even similar.

It's striking how sparse the exposition is. For example, all we needed from Jesse Plemons was one line of dialogue and a few conservatively-distributed mopey looks.

Peggy also gets a lot done with relatively little screen time. I absolutely loved that character, and Amy Adams's performance. I know it will get richer with each subsequent viewing, as will the subtle but crazy sexual and power dynamic between the three characters.

In fact, "subtle but crazy" is a pretty good way to describe this film.


Not sure if it's been posted before but check this out:

The only thing i missed was the mention of squirrels, that was previously in the script, and somehow didn't make it into the film. The "split saber" scene was great because of the OT3 connections. I'm going to see this film again, i feel like i've forgotten so many great moments already.
the one last hit that spent you...


but what about the manuscript?

really though, "knotty" seems to be the word of choice when describing this movie and i found it to be beguilingly so.  it's brilliantly elliptical  and it achieves that because there's nothing to question leading up to when they go to arizona.  the film goes along on its own terms and i'm a pig in shit to be watching it.  it really is kind of immaculate.  lean, economic storytelling that is genuinely effective.  this ends when they go to get the manuscript, and my feeling was that the exclusion of expository details for a lot of what occurs from that point on is a bit overambitious, even feeling rushed/truncated.  the gaps in plot points stopped contributing to the poetry of the movie and caused me to wonder what the fuck was going on.

at this point i think my main gripe is that dream sequence in the theater.  it struck me then and now as being jarring, unnecessary, even regressive.  wish fulfillment and a reflection of his loneliness and longing to belong are fair arguments for its existence but it's so brief and seemingly mundane that it doesn't really illicit any of those thoughts without it just being an act of good faith towards pta.  then there's what dodd says to him in the phone call.  it's pertinent information to setting up the next scene.  but it's a dream.  what other conclusion can you draw from that than that frankie learned that dodd and the cause were in england in a dream, acted on what he learned in said dream, and happened to be right?  it's a dumb, lazy misstep to me.  it all would be fine if there was a moment where we see frankie learning about the cause's whereabouts from a reliable source.

no one's really addressed the specific scenes i brought up as cause to my lukewarmness towards the third act without giving it the "it just works/feels right" pass.  mod, you said something about your incredulousness towards someone you saw it with as to how that person could leave that movie hung up on a plot point.  but i think it's indicative of how the film goes from being engagingly mysterious to plain old confusing.

anyway, seeing it again tomorrow.  we'll see how that goes.


Random thoughts after a second viewing:

-Freddie and Lancaster are both at home on a boat out to see. Ironically they're more adrift on land. Freddie causes trouble, and Lancaster can't write because he's constantly defending himself from attacks (basic questioning of his "philosophy.")

The desert scenes are a stark contrast to the boat/water scenes. It could be about Freddie and Lancaster trying to expand outside their comfort zones. They're grappling with the idea of being on land by speeding across it, as if they're trying to subjugate it or show that it doesn't scare them.

-Everything Lancaster says is subtly or overtly self-aggrandizing. Even on his daughter's wedding day his big speech was more to draw attention to himself. The wedding is just a celebration for The Cause.

-Freddie and Lancaster are two sides of the same coin. Both are concerned with themselves, though in different ways. Freddie is looking for a place to be a part of, and he's battling with his urges to get high, fight, and get off, just to feel some extreme feeling. Lancaster is working to build a bigger movement around his cult of followers, who worship him. He can't handle it when John More pointedly questions his ideas, and when Laura Dern points out that his use of "imagine" vs. "recall" is a major change, he snaps at her. Both can be charismatic when they need to be, and can lose their tempers. Their similarity is why they connect, but also why their relationship is tumultuous. Who wouldn't have issues when looking into the mirror? Freddie even has a moment of leadership when he gets Clark to come with him to attack John More.

-When movies tell you everything about the plot and characters and neatly wrap it up in the end, it often feels like this characters only exist for the time that we're seeing. But the "Swiss cheese" nature of the film, as Jeremy Blackman put it, gives the sense that these characters live outside of what we're shown in the movie. The end of the film is simply the end of what we see of the characters. We don't need everything explained and justified to us.

Jeremy Blackman

Quote from: Ravi on September 24, 2012, 03:37:12 AMWhen movies tell you everything about the plot and characters and neatly wrap it up in the end, it often feels like this characters only exist for the time that we're seeing. But the "Swiss cheese" nature of the film, as Jeremy Blackman put it, gives the sense that these characters live outside of what we're shown in the movie. The end of the film is simply the end of what we see of the characters. We don't need everything explained and justified to us.

I love this point of view. We can think of it like the opposite of an ultra-serialized TV show like Breaking Bad, which shows us everything, traps us in its world, and is so powerful for it, but at the same time lacks mystery, does not demand a workload of interpretation in the same way, and doesn't set its hook in your brain or get under your skin in the same way. The Master really got under my skin, because it embraces the limitations of film. I think PTA tried doing that with CMBB (which worked in its way), but he does it here more effectively. And it's exactly what you're talking about.

The way it leaves those gaps sort of reminds me of Full Metal Jacket, but I guess that's a more extreme and less subtle example.

Samsong - the first kitten has been executed.

Jeremy Blackman

A really strange parallel just occurred to me: Dodd serenading Freddie with "I'd Like to Get You on a Slow Boat to China" & Freddie's "Gone to China" message from one of the trailers.

On the surface it seems like Freddie should be writing that message on some bulletin board in the Master's school as he leaves at the end. But that's not the case — he's dressed in a sailor suit and is obviously younger. Which on its own makes absolutely no sense. It only makes sense as a figurative (and almost Lynchian) connection to Dodd's serenade. Sort of an answer to it... like he's gone to China by himself, not on a slow boat, and not with Dodd.


I will not responsible for any Kitten Deaths (not in this thread anyways).

I hate swiss cheese, but boy do I like this film. 

I like when a film (or tv show for that matter) embraces gaps in time.  When you have a writer like PTA who writes his characters so well, you are given a set of tools, so to speak, to understand the character and he actions and the road he's going down.  A gap in time/space forces you to consider everything you know about who the character is, where he was, and where he is now and apply all those tools the writer gave you.  In the end I think you end up with a much better understanding of the character because you've sort of put yourself in his/her place mentally.  I think that has something to do with why The Master, like it or not, really sticks with you.

One of the reasons I'm sometimes so harsh on Breaking Bad (which I'm assuming is why JB threatened kittens lives in this thread), is because it never allows this process to take place.  There are no gaps to fill in.  We have been with Walt every single step of the way in his process of Breaking Bad.  Pretty much every single minute of it.  It doesn't have the gaps (I refuse to call them holes), and that weight of time passing that really allows characters to develop, and viewers to understand them.  Its interesting though, because when I think about it, I do understand the characters in Breaking Bad. I know Walt like he's my Dad. I just have trouble buying some of what happens to him because it has happened in such a short amount of time, and I'm acutely aware of that because there are so rarely those gaps in time.  But that, perhaps, is a post for another thread.

I'm off to see The Master again.  I have more to say about it that doesn't have to do with gaps, but I'm holding off until a second viewing.  But really, who cares how he figured out Dodd was in England?  Does it matter how Eli found Daniel at the end of CMBB?



doing my part to control animal overpopulation.  to add to this, i too will start murdering baby sloths by scoring the skin on their heads and peeling them like a banana and leaving them to bleed out for every time someone refers to peggy as mary sue or whatever the fuck her name was in the script.

i'd like to clarify here that it isn't a lack of a neatly packaged ending that is bothering me, it's that a lot just didn't make much sense to me in the third act.  how we get to the climax was unsatisfying to me, and not for lack of compelling rising action or, i don't know, awesome shit.  my first viewing left me with the feeling that the last scene between dodd and frankie hadn't quite been earned.  i liked the way the film ended but much of its potency was usurped by what i'm now starting to believe is shoddy storytelling. 

i'd like to give due credit however to the scene where freddie goes back to doris's house.  it's genius.  also the shot of the model in the department store set to get thee behind me satan is as swoon worthy as anything pt has done.  full ophuls mode there.

as far as getting the sense of characters transcending the scope of the film goes, no one has or will ever do that better than cassavetes, and this is certainly not on that level guys.  (just picking a fight at this point.)


So, here's my incoherent thoughts on my first viewing.  Wow. What a cinematic treat.  The movie is so god damned organic in its approach that I experienced things with lights and sound that have never hit me before while watching a film in a theater.  This doesn't mean conventional though.  I believe it's organic in a completely different way than say, the Tree of Life, which I would also use that word for.

what i mean by this is, TOL used this idea of taking bare bones situations and using them to explore deep concepts organically, yet it wants to shut out any light that surrealism is trying to shine through. the most surreal shit in TOL comes from the formation of the universe. Nearly Every moment in the film (TOL), i knew what Malick was trying to do or what emotional aspect of youth and father son relationships he was trying to portray.  He did so in a minimalist way(not aesthetically speaking) and also the way he used certain sequences despite the context never really being explained and how it related to Penn and the world he lives in now, which is radically different than the one he and his father grew up in.

Moving on from tree of life, I believe the master is organic in that it takes its time and lets time and events within a time span play out but it isn't doing it for the sake of any other reason, than the appreciation PTA has for his environment and the characters.  This is to say that he's saying a lot and taking his time to do it, which is how life is in a lot of cases.

The reason that I feel the organic nature of the film plays out so well is that he embraces the surrealism and absurdity of life, unlike TOL, and intermingles chaos with the natural order of things.  That's why the surreal aspects of the film are so rich because their not aggrandizing. they just occur and it's just as weird as the earthly things that freddy or dodd or any of the characters live through.

This film is about beasts, and how our instincts are mans original master.  Not only this, but it's about how we've fought those instincts so hard for so long that we've created a dichotomy between the savage beast and the civilized rational man, and also how putting the civilized rational man up on a pedestal makes that your master, which is what dodd showcases with his outbursts.

Look at how Quell's posture is throughout the film.  He's hunched over like an early primate. While Dodd's posture is always looking down on freddy standing tall on his mountain of reason and spirit, perched high.  When we're introduced to Dodd, he looks like royalty.

I've been racking my brain about what the significance is of showing the back of the boat in three separate shots and I agree they need put under a microscope.

One huge question that really confused me in the film is, What do you think the significance is of showing all the soldiers heading in a single file line, while freddy is passed out next to the sand lady.  They're all heading somewhere.  Does Freddy miss the boat?  What is happening there?

Now to dive into some of the other interesting things concerning this film.

Freddy is asleep a lot in this picture, so I believe this obscures our perception many times over.  When Peggy talks to him and tells him to quit boozing, (which she says the word boozing too many times in this IMO).  He's just woken up when he meets Dod for the first time and wow, coincidentally a red head is there when he wakes and takes him to meet dodd, ON A SHIP no less, what a coincidence since he's a navy man.  he's asleep on the ship quite a few times. I don't need to go any further in this, and the last thing I want to address before going to see it a 2nd time tonight is this.

Does the master say, "oh you remembered the kools," or what does he say?  does he directly reference that he asked him to get them, or are they just bonding over the fact that they've shared kools in the past.

Lastly, i'd like to know about the last interaction between dodd, peggy and Freddy.  Now, Peggy does most of the talking here and I want to know, do you find this odd?  I thought it was odd for her character or out of the norm because Dodd hardly says a word and she just lays into freddy.  I want to draw some parallel with her and doris (both red heads). Keep in mind this talk comes after Freddy finds out Doris has moved on etc. 

On to my question:  Since PTSD is a factor in this film, or at least psychologically troubled individuals are, where are we going to really draw the line for what is real and what isn't?  I know it's been discussed but what i'm getting at is we really can't trust freddy's perspective based on his perspective being skewed by the tragic events in his past and his psychological state.  when he walks in to dodd's room and the white window is blown out behind him, the first thing I thought is 'this isn't real,' and the 2nd thing i thought was that since Freddy and Peggy had such a head butting past, wouldn't freddies projected manifestation present peggy in the light she's portrayed in at the end? 

That's why I'm asking if you all thought that scene with her and freddy towards the end correlates with the rest of her behavior from the past?

Can't wait to refine some of this stuff after a 2nd viewing and as I read over back over this I realized that I had so many more thoughts brewing that i wasn't able to get out just yet.

I really hope this adds to the great discussion you people have created so far
it's not the wrench, it's the plumber.


samsong I'm interested to hear your thoughts after another viewing. I don't have any good answers at the moment. I do think it's a perfectly valid argument to say plot holes exist. There's a fine line between being swiss cheese storytelling and being obtuse or outright confusing. It merits further discussion after we all see it more (sorry JB. Euthanize another kitten if you must).

Quote from: samsong on September 24, 2012, 05:15:26 PM

I haven't heard a convincing analysis of any of these things, particularly the manuscript and motorcycles.

Jeremy Blackman

Oh, the gaps and mysteries definitely merit discussion. I didn't mean to discourage that. I just don't think they should be used against the film, to describe those parts as "shoddy storytelling" or "dumb" or "lazy" (samsong's words). I think we should take a moment to figure things out before we jump to those conclusions.

But yes, we should discuss them. I'll chime in when I've thought about it more.

Keep in mind I'm coming from this as a fan of David Lynch and especially Inland Empire, which doesn't even qualify as swiss cheese. (It's more like someone was shredding 5 different types of cheeses and spilled them all over the floor.) I love it when things get weird, when these scenes that require contemplation get under your skin and won't go away.

Also, I wanted to post these 2 bits of audio goodness...

Slate's Spoiler Special - The Master
Their episode on The Master. You can also get this from iTunes. Dana Stevens hosts this podcast, by the way. (29 min)

Discussion of The Master from Slate's Culture Gabfest
I extracted their segment on The Master from the full podcast. Also includes Dana Stevens, but this was recorded before the Spoiler Special. (11 min)


I had a long drive home after work which I spent chain smoking and thinking about this film.  This time is usually occupied by listening to the Breaking Bad Podcast(I'm not going to comment on the previous BB comment and turn this page into yet another BB discussion) or some other podcast. I'm probably going to mention things that were obvious to everyone that enjoyed the film but I'm trying to work through it and understand my problems with the film.

It was completely different than what I expected. While watching it, the lack of any comment or reference to the state of things in the US after WWII which would cause a religion like this catch on was one of the few things I felt lacking.  Looking back on it I now realize it wasn't about that at all so I was expecting an entirely different film.  I'm trying to look at it for what it is.

I don't think I agree with the reviews that said it's a story between a Shepherd and his sheep.  I would agree more that these guys are two sides of the same coin. If that is true and Dodd is the christ figure, then that would make Freddie the antichrist. 

I read Dana Stevens review after she saw it for a second and third time. I really do need to see it again but disagree with her comment about the nude dancing scene.  I too found the scene jarring on my one and only time seeing it but don't think it's about Peggy's insecurity.  Thinking about it in a new light after my dirve, I think it's more likely her realization that Freddie is nothing but an animal driven by his sexual desires. In a scene where everyone is connected in this spiritual celebration, Freddie is only seeing it in it's most animistic or anti Cause way.  With everything we've seen him do, one could imagine him with an erection in the corner imagining this scene.  It doesn't have to be that graphic but I think it's her realizing what he is and the danger he is to Dodd keeping on the righteous path.  She also said Peggy's hand job was Peggy asserting her sexual dominance over Dodd.  If my reading of the dancing scene is correct, then I think Peggy is appealing to Dodd's animalistic desires, which Dodd shares with Freddie, with the handjob to get him back on to the path of the Cause.  She see's Freddie's influence so she does what Freddie does and appeal to his animal side to influence him back to the path.

In my first post, I referred to Ebert's review and how I agreed a lot with it. In the review Ebert said he didn't understand what the motorcycle scene was about. Well if these guys are two sides of the same coin, then it would make since how they drove off in different directions. Or better it shows how Dodd can stray from the path and indulge his animalistic side but can always return.  Freddie on the other hand is on his own path fueled completely by his desires and it might intersect with yours for a moment but he is an unstoppable force and will never change course.  You will always have to go chasing after him after he leaves you high in and dry in a desert.

I thought it was strange when Dodd said if they met in a future life they would be enemies. It makes since now, if after my second viewing my little analysis while driving holds up. Dodd said himself if they can't help him then it is the Cause that had failed. So Freddie being around is a walking, talking, farting example of how the Cause is a failure.  Also it can go further if Dodd is the Christ symbol.  Freddie is a much purer example of the animal side than Dodd could be ever be as The Master.  Freddie's yang is pure black compared to Dodd's ying of off white or grey. 

Maybe I'm the only one but I never felt Freddie bought in entirely to the Cause.  I think his commitment was to Dodd and not to the religion although he tried commit to the Cause.  All those physical confrontations were to protect Dodd and not the Cause. Peggy's commitment is as much to the Cause as it is to Dodd. I think Dodd realizes after the book release that Freddie has much more influence on him than he will ever have on Freddie.  Another poster mentioned how it seemed Dodd came up with the Laughing part of the Cause after Freddie's interview. That's probably true and Dodd also changed the words recall to imagine.  It's possible Freddie influenced that part as well.  So Freddie has had a huge influence on the Cause.  Dodd is confronted by his most loyal follower Dern's Character.  He lashes out at her at the same time Freddie attacks the guy outside.  The book Heart of Darkness and the film Apocalypse Now are about how enlightened men go out to tame and enlighten the savages but it is the enlightened men who end up transformed by the savages and they end up digressing to a more animal state. This is what happens to Dodd.  He thinks he can save this man but it ends up he who has been changed.

I don't know when i'll get to see it again but will be much sooner than I originally planned after my long drive.  I read the majority of the posts after I got home from my first viewing and that was after 2 am so I might have forgotten but surprised no one mentioned the running joke of everyone commenting on how they see the likeness between Dodd and his son.
If you think this is going to have a happy ending, you haven't been paying attention.


Strange. I've seen it twice now and the dream sequence has never bothered me or been a source of confusion. To me, it elevated the film by allowing for the possibility of the supernatural. In my mind, it's clear that it IS a dream, and also clear that Dodd and Freddie were both connected in that dream. The dream was true.

This has less to do with Dodd's ideas in The Cause, and it doesn't legitimize his teachings, but his bond with Freddie, and even the notion that they had met in a previous life, aren't as easily shrugged off. I see it as a movie that takes this idea of fate and love beyond the graspable world seriously, even if what much of Dodd says is untrue.

The final scene between Dodd and Freddie is, in my mind, totally honest. When Dodd is recalling their working together for the Pigeon Post in a previous lifetime, he believes it to be true. When he says that if they meet in the next life, they will be sworn enemies, he believes it totally. He's not peddling bullshit in that moment.

When Dodd describes that in their previous life, they sent out forty-something balloons with messages and only two didn't reach their destination, and repeats, "... Two." it conjured up a beautiful poetic image of Freddie and Dodd as two wandering balloons that will never find their proper place. This is just before he says that if Freddie leaves that he doesn't ever want to see him again. Or he can stay.

I have to say that I don't think that the writing is lazy in the theater scene, because the lazy version of that scene would be obvious. It's easy enough to think of a way that Dodd could have actually gotten ahold of Freddie in a literal way. It's better that they find each other in a dream. Movies don't need to subscribe to the same metaphysics as the world outside of movies. When they first meet and Dodd says, "You seem so familiar to me..." this movie is OPEN to the idea that there is something that connects these two people beyond just two dudes who meet and are now loyal to each other. The movie is open to the idea to that the loyalty existed before they met (in this life). It doesn't mean that Dodd is right about much, but he might be right about them.

Another thing is I REALLY noticed in the second viewing how their relationship is exactly that of a master and his dog, but with the true deep love of that sort of relationship. This movie is not just a love story--it's a love story between a man and a dog. Freddie is not just "an animal." He is a dog. It's not just that Dodd treats Freddie like a dog. Freddie IS a dog.

Regarding the manuscript in the desert, the sequence in the film plays like this: Peggy announces the convention in Phoenix and says that this is where they will present Book Two. Then Dodd and Freddie dig up the manuscript. Then we see the book being printed. In my mind, it makes sense that the paranoid Dodd wouldn't keep all the pages of his book on his person that someone could steal and sell or that a "spy" could reach. He's probably been writing it over the course of many years, periodically storing some of it in the desert so that no one but him could ever access the full book. Freddie is the only one he trusts to come with him to dig it up.

Anyway, this movie resonated with me a lot more on second viewing. I knew I liked it when I first saw it, but just letting myself get into the rhythms of the film and not be thrown off by the parts the didn't match my expectations allowed me to sink further into the film. It is such a sweet picture, and not strange, after the first viewing. Not strange. Familiar. It worked better that way.


Quote from: matt35mm on September 24, 2012, 11:40:40 PM

Really fascinating and in-depth article on the process of shooting on 65mm/35mm and the process of printing to 70mm, with comparisons between the 70mm projection and 4K projection. Good stuff!

No spoilers.

This quote is from the non-spoiler page, i almost responded there, but these days you never know what someone will consider a spoiler so to avoid rage i brought it here.

I think the article is wrong, hamlet wasn't the last film shot on it, major sections of the new world and a few from tree of life were as well.

either way, i want to say I'm happy with the 1:85 decision. I'm far less impressed with 2.35-2.4:1 than I used to be. I think Steadicam looks best when you make the aspect ratio narrower, the floating effect seems less penetrating and more painterly. One could say the boxier the frame, the more it appears to float. looking back on the 4:3 open matt super 35 stuff that directors did to avoid pan and scan during the tube television era was pretty great. the most obvious example being the shining, and the last great one i can think of was van sant's Elephant. the Elephant DVD has both the widescreen and the open matt; the common mistake being you'll see more with the widescreen, which is not the case. well worth the bars on the side.
the one last hit that spent you...


I've seen it twice now as well and there is much that I agree upon with many of you. It's such a difficult task tackling this discussion simply due to the fact there is so much to discuss. Loving the lengthy posts.

The first thing that I wanted to talk about was something that Mod touched upon a while back about Master's mention of "laughter" during his Phoenix speech. The first time I saw the film I caught the exchange of a glance between Freddie and Dodd but it wasn't until the second viewing that the moment stood out for me.

To me it was Dodd's way of telling Freddie what he truly meant to him. Sure, he had always been open about his affection towards him, ("you're the bravest boy I've ever met", etc.) but he had never preached it. He had never made it about Freddie. I think this moment holds more significance than we're catching onto. Yes, it's a reiteration of his point that laughter is important when processing, but it's more than that. It's also just a reference to Freddie's sweet, contagious laugh. That childish giggle that we see so much of in the movie when they're drinking, playing like boys. That is what Dodd has come to enjoy most. He's telling Freddy in this moment that Freddy himself has become his passion and his reason for continuing what he's doing.

I think this is part of what leads Freddy to get upset and leave in the desert. He can't handle it being about him. Up until then he was ok with the possibility of it all being made up as they went, as long as he had something to follow and it wasn't up to him to keep the ship on course. I think this could also explain why he loses his temper and hits the man for saying that Book 2 sucks. The man was also insulting Freddy at the time.

I will say before I continue that after the first go I did find the third act to be a tough one. But man, it's all magic to me now.

I found it interesting when someone mentioned how Kubrick-esque the theater scene seemed. ( a scene I have no problem with, and enjoy rather immensely). For me it was the naked sing along that reminded me most of Kubrick. It brought back feelings from EWS for obvious reasons but I could also see Alex from Clockwork imagining those girls frolicking about. So cool.

I'd like to hear what some of you thought about the conclusion of the extended processing sequence and why Master decides to end the application where he does. I believe it is when Freddy says something along the lines of "I can reach through the glass, I can touch the other house, I can touch the flowers...". What is it about these thoughts that lead him to stop Freddy? Why does he think the fact that Freddy believes he can do these things is a step forward for him?

Also, what is with the dragon analogy during his wedding speech? I didn't get that part at all.

The scene after the New York debacle when Dodd is typing and Peggy is tweaking is awesome. Totally agree with JB with the Boogie feel. Also, the drag that Master takes off his cigarette while he's typing is the longest, deepest from an individual to ever be committed to film. I'm sure of it. Look for it next time.

So much more but I'm fuckin tired.