Tag Archives: Phillip Seymour Hoffman

Anton Corbijn Reviews: The American and A Most Wanted Man

10986 THE AMERICAN QUAD.inddThe American

There’s something a little bit magical about The American’s devious nature; I’m not sure it was intended by director Anton Corbijn, but you have to admire the way it gallantly seduced American audiences into approaching it like a classical ’70s spy-action film starring George Clooney (a perfect match for that sort of role if ever there was one) and then tricked them into watching what is a deliberately challenging, resistant film. Vaguely setting itself up with a harried narrative about an assassin scoping out and setting up for a contract in a small town in mountainous, rural Italy, the film is instead a thoughtful, reflective, molasses-slow work about an old soul and the resolution only a natural cleansing in a small-town locale can bring. It is a meditative film, above all, and an extremely effective meditation at that. Continue reading


Review: The Master

The Master is many things, but the only safe and sure descriptor I can come up with is “mis-marketed”. Explored pre-release, it was a film about L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology. Indeed, Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s Lancaster Dodd is a facsimile of L. Ron Hubbard, and one can certainly draw comparisons to the much-maligned religion (some would not agree with calling it that). But Anderson’s film is not only about Dodd or the “cultlike” group he leads. It’s a much more ambitious, confounding affair, highly impersonal, yet enrapturing.  Technically it centers around a religious cult, but focusing on this controversial aspect of the film does it a grave disservice. On the plus side, it allows me this one measly paragraph to save myself from not saying anything I feel confident about throughout the review. This comment about the mis-marketing of the film ends the part of the review where I’m relatively sure I agree with what I’m writing – the rest of the film, as I think Anderson wants, is me entering the wild and hoping to come out the other side. Continue reading