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The Master, Moonrise Kingdom and Lincoln

Courtesy of The Weinstein Company.

Film is so strange. I think Daniel Day-Lewis' performance in Steven Spielberg's Lincoln is remarkable - the hunched physicality, his voice, his utterly believable mix of idealism and pragmatism. Likewise Tony Kushner's extraordinary script - and Tommy Lee Jones, who is fabulous.

Yet Lincoln doesn't excite me, doesn't get my juices flowing, the way that Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom or Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master do.

Daniel Day-Lewis' remarkable performance as Abraham Lincoln.

If you think about a classic (yet still Hollywood style) biopic like Lawrence of Arabia, you have something that is also centered around a remarkable performance - and with a challenging story to tell - and yet you have unforgettable imagery and a sense of your emotions being stirred in a completely different way. 

The movie of my childhood - I adored it.

The cut early on from Lawrence/O'Toole extinguishing a match with his fingers to that astonishing desert landscape is unmatched by anything in Lincoln. Lincoln is well shot, but I can't remember a single standout image.

Moonrise Kingdom is just magical and perfect. It made me happy, a rare effect for a film. Wes Anderson's cosmos is a place I would like to inhabit, and for our children to inhabit, too.

Then there is The Master: mystifying at times, and with two incredible performances by Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman (with Phoenix edging Hoffman out - Phoenix's physicality is as tortured and hunched as Day-Lewis' but also more raw) - but also a sense of floating through time, akin to seeing 2001 or maybe There Will Be Blood for the first time.

Joaquin Phoenix in The Master is as extraordinary as Day-Lewis.

The end of The Master is wonderfully indefinable - the final shot of Phoenix (I won't give a spoiler) raises questions about life and reality and time that fully transcend the very worthy ambitions of Lincoln.

Lincoln moved me and fascinated me, but it is very much a Hollywood movie. Moonrise Kingdom and, probably to an even greater extent, The Master will haunt me and make me want to revisit them again and again.


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