CONTENTIOUS: Joaquin Phoenix plays Freddie Quell in The Master, a film based on the early years of Scientology.
CONTENTIOUS: Joaquin Phoenix plays Freddie Quell in The Master, a film based on the early years of Scientology. CONTRIBUTED

Masters of cinema and of Scientology

Title: The Master

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson

Rated: MA

AMERICAN director Paul Thomas Anderson has proven to be a brilliant filmmaker with all of his previous powerful and often controversial features - Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Punch Drunk Love and There Will Be Blood.

In The Master, Anderson has taken on yet another contentious issue as the film is based on the early years of Scientology.

The film is set in the years following Second World War. Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) is a disturbed young veteran, a womaniser, alcoholic and violent. On the run from troubles, he stows away on the luxury boat of members of a fledgling cult called The Cause.

This brings him under the influence of the cult's charismatic leader Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman) who takes Freddie under his wing as "guinea pig and protege".

The power in The Master is the relationship between the two men, and both Phoenix and Hoffman give mesmerising performances, as does Amy Adams as Dodd's wife.

This is a dense and thought- provoking movie; a fascinating and disconcerting psychological study.


 The Master will screen at Star Court Theatre on Sunday February 24, at 5.30pm and Friday, March 1, at 7.30pm.


Title: Hitchcock


Director: Sacha Gervasi


Rated: M

AS AN unabashed disclaimer, I must acknowledge a love of Hitchcock movies since childhood.

First-time director Sacha Gervasi was most fortunate in enlisting a top cast for the movie which also has a very polished look.

The film is largely involved with the controversy of Hitchcock's determination to make Psycho in 1960, and particularly concentrates on the prickly relationship of Hitchcock and his wife Alma Reville.

Anthony Hopkins does a fine take on Hitchcock, and Helen Mirren is superb as Alma. But while the story chronicles many of the difficulties in completing Psycho, there is a good dose of fictional licence in overplaying Hitch's obsessions and Alma's "affair", and her work on the film.

Nonetheless this is quite a fascinating movie about a great filmmaker working in an uptight censored period.


 Hitchcock is screening at Birch Carroll & Coyle Cinemas, Lismore.

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