From April 21, 2013
This movie really annoyed me. I thought it would be a scathing commentary on L. Ron Hubbard and his wacky invented cult, Scientology. That’s what the previews and press made it out to look like.
But no, the film is mostly about the wanderings of a WWII vet ( Joaquin Phoenix) who suffers from PTSD. He’s sex-obsessed, but only has sex once in the whole film (at the end). He drinks. He stumbles around. He falls in with a cult. He gets thrown in jail. He falls in with the cult again. The movie ends.
Doesn’t that sound like a great flick to you?
Joaquin Phoenix does a great job acting as usual, but you never care about his character, because he’s a wholly unlikable person.
Philip Seymour Hoffman also acts very well in the film, but who cares when the film is slow and meandering in its plot?
Nothing happens in this film. There is no character development. Joaquin Phoenix’s character begins the movie as a crazy, shiftless guy… and whoa! He ends the movie that way, too. Wow. That was a lot of character development. Good job, writer.
At the end I realized that this was a Paul Thomas Anderson film and I said “Oh! THAT’S why it was so annoying!”
Many critics hail PTA as the best director in a generation and I have no idea why. His movies are all mostly boring and have little-to-no purpose. Just because PTA makes films that make no sense, DOES NOT mean that they are artistic!
The only films of PTA’s that I can stomach are “Punch-Drunk Love” (which I mostly like because it was Adam Sandler’s first dramatic performance) and “Boogie Nights” (which is really only palatable because you get to see Heather Graham naked on roller skates).
No, I have not seen “There Will Be Blood” yet, which I hear is very good. I’ll see it one of these days when I have nothing better to do. Until then I will continue to avoid all PTA films like the plague.