My lists are finally coming to a close. We’ve examined the decade thoroughly and it’s only halfway finished. We have truly seen quite a grande amount of exceptional songs, albums and performances these past few years. We now touch upon the films, and this feels as though I have saved the best for last. The amount of movies that are absolutely phenomenal that we have been given since 2010 you wouldn’t believe. We have seen some groundbreaking cinema, both technologically and socially. We have been given new ideas and risky concepts. We’ve seen a modern take on old cinema and a paving towards new territory entirely. As of next week, I will return with my songs and films of the week as I will explore the newest releases, both good and bad, as they are dropped. But for now, I am sad to finally stop living in the past as I have enjoyed doing so with great joy. I will conclude my four part series these: The top 25 films of the decade so far.
25. Life of Pi (2012)
Life of Pi was a book many had to read in high school, and for ages, high school was where it stayed. No way could a movie like this exist outside of paper pages. Ang Lee is a director bold enough to try anything (almost no two films of his are alike, even), so he was one of the few suitable for such a job. Take away the stunning 3D, the great CGI, the haunting music and all of the other aesthetics and The Life of Pi is still a terrific movie. Like Pi himself, the movie was told it wouldn’t amount to much and was mocked, and here it stands tall, proud and ferocious. Like the tiger Richard Parker, the movie thrives on very little as all it needed was some imagination and trust. It’s a dazzling journey about faith and wisdom, and it’s a testament that anything is possible; even adapting that novel.
24. Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)
Pan’s Labyrinth made a childrens fairy tale out of war as a young girl had to learn how to cope with such horrific events as death, torture and imprisonment. Beasts of the Southern Wild does something similar but it is more recent and more in tune with modern events. Loosely reflective of the hurricane that destroyed New Orleans, Hushpuppy lives in a ghetto by the river that is ruined via water damage. Her father and friends have nowhere to go, and their urgency to find a place to survive becomes her fear of large boar-like monsters that are coming from the north to find them. The more diseased people get, the faster the beasts come. Hushpuppy is too young to understand what is going on and that, as tough as she may be, the world is not hers to face. She doesn’t reach an age to get this concept, so she fights for herself and her ailing father the entire time. Beasts of the Southern Wild is enchanting and also very hard hitting, with a toung girl blurring the lines between fantasy and reality. It’s a terrific look at a hard life through the eyes of an imaginative child.
23. Κυνόδοντας [Dogtooth] (2010)
Nothing shows the repressed state of Greece like a creepy movie about children that are trapped within their own home. This sickly twisted metaphor of a struggling country features parents that have no idea how to let their children grow outside of their confinements, which makes their children really naive as a result. To shelter their children some more, the parents make up new definitions of words that exist so they have no idea of how to get into contact with the outside world. Within the world of this household, cats are scary, planes are toys that can be picked up in the yard and sex happens whenever a lady comes over to the house. It’s a disgusting movie, but you’ll be pressed to find an unnerving movie this clever about its own concept. The lengths Dogtooth goes to make this idea work makes you wonder if this has happened before (it’s nearly foolproof). It shows the obvious problems with clingy sheltering and the Stockholm syndrome that comes out of it. Without a concept of what is morally right and wrong, the children will end up shocking you the most, as they (actually fairly old in age) are still infantile in mind and without the wisdom of what not to do. Dogtooth is a right of passage, alright: It is a very vocal movie about one disturbed family, and if that isn’t a strong opinion about one’s home country, I don’t know what to tell you.
22. Holy Motors (2012)
I do not even know where to begin with this one. How does one even explain what this is? I bet if you even asked director Leos Carax, he’d find it hard to put together in a literal sense. That’s because Holy Motors gets you to stop thinking clearly for once and think outside of your comfort zone. This fictitious world where an actor, played in many forms by Denis Lavant, is driven to appointments (representing his scenes, I suppose) only makes sense in a figurative way. He nonchalantly experiences death, sex and eroticism, music and dance. For him, it’s just another day at the office. For us, we haven’t a clue what this is. All we know is that it’s out of the ordinary, and it becomes a big rush as a result. We see Godard-ian images we aren’t used to, mixed with a Kubrick-ian chill. You may laugh out of discomfort or wince out of fear. Holy Motors is the vehicle that drives you everywhere in life and your mind, and basically nowhere as well. The more you turn off your brain for this one, the more it’ll be opened up.
21. Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014)
What in God’s name is Birdman about? We all thought the same thing when it first came out. We couldn’t wrap our heads around Alejandro Iñárittu attaching himself to anything called Birdman. Then there was the huge amounts of praise behind it that made things all the more interesting. When you finally see it, you can understand it’s true power. It may be the most meta film in years. The many ways it is self aware are staggering: Keaton is Thomson trying to do something outside of his superhero past, Norton is difficult to deal with (as he just wants it all to go right in the end) and the clash of the two acting veterans and their contrasting careers is large. The movie rides between being a film and a play, and it tries its very best to not turn into the safe Hollywood blockbuster that would surely bring in the money. The movie ends with a lie to itself so we make it through okay, but no one does. Birdman is a clever homage to everyone involved and every actor who has ever struggled (basically all of them).
20. Toy Story 3 (2010)
We have an apparent fourth film in this series coming out, and I’m not alone in feeling upset about this. Why would we need another when Toy Story 3 was such a perfect ending to the trilogy? Andy was the same age as those who grew up with thr movies since they were children. We made it to university and college together. We see a more mature story that happens to the toys, including incarceration and the fears of death, never mind just neglect. It was the story we were finally ready to handle. What we couldn’t take was the final scene, where we were reminded that Pixar has the capability of releasing any emotion they desire. For a piece of the bigger picture written many years after the first movie, Toy Story 3 worked almost too well. The fourth movie seems almost unnecessary, especially after such a powerful resolution of a film.
19. Nightcrawler (2014)
We were teased with a manic Jake Gyllenhaal laughing like the devil himself, and we were still unprepared for how creepy Nightcrawler truly is. Lou Bloom isn’t seen as a weirdo by some in this movie; In fact, he’s even considered a savior. He is treated like a modern nostradamus as he finds horrific events before they seemingly happen (according to the news anyways), and he is almost the angel of death himself. He brings misery to those entranced by his sickness, and they love it. You will too, and you may feel disgusted with yourself after the movie. There are far lengths Bloom will go to be the bringer of bad news, and you wont believe it even on repeated viewings. The worst part about Nightcrawler is how plausible all of it seems. After all, Nightcrawler blew all of us away, right? Bloom wins again and he doesn’t even exist. That’s too scary.
18. The Artist (2011)
A silent film won best picture. If I said that ten years ago, I wouldnt get the best reactions. Luckily, we seem more open minded this way. That, or Michel Hazanavicius knew what he was doing. You see, The Artist is more than just a feature length silent movie. It is a modern reflection of the start of talking pictures. During a time where many great films struggle to get notice, it was time to look back and see what works in getting everyone’s attention. We have two great leads (Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo) who yank the film with them solely using their expressions and charisma. You have clever sequences that play on the fact that this is a silent movie. You have the relevancy where many actors don’t want to go the typical Hollywood route and get left behind. The Artist truly is just that, as it painted a picture of both homage and pathos. It wasn’t just smart to make this movie, it was borderline necessary for all of us cinephiles.
17. Inception (2010)
Christopher Nolan has received his share of flack for the muddled finale The Dark Knight Rises and the underrated Interstellar (despite its plot holes, was it really that bad?), and it is unfortunate because the divide between Nolan superfans and the rest of the world has put the director in a weird place. People are way harder on him than they should be, or they will hate other directors to justify their adoration for Nolan. Either way, Inception is slowly getting lost in thr mix. This neo noir epic is essentially just a heist movie, but that basic premise is why it can successfully branch out and try so many risks. The art of going deeper in dreams has become a meme online, but within the movie it works perfectly. From all of the small touches (the score being Edith Piaf’s song slowed down, the change in gravity in some dream layers, etc) we can see that this could be Nolan realizing what he can truly be great at. If you strip away the hype, the cult phenomenon, the online bashing and the elitism, Inception is a fantastic movie that doesn’t deserve to be forgotten about.
16. La Grande Bellezza [The Great Beauty] (2013)
Any film student will tell you the importances of a director like Federico Fellini, whose Italian neorealistic films paved the way for all filmmakers since. For Paolo Sorrentino, this may appear more evident than others, because The Great Beauty is a gorgeous tribute to the late master. It examines life as an upper class party, much like Fellini would, and it poses the same existential questions he would ask amidst living life to the fullest. Before, we got those questions through the beautiful socialites and celebrities. Here, we get these ponders through an aging man who has already seen it all and believes there isn’t much left. Or so he thinks, as The Great Beauty gets us all to reexamine how everything exists. Thankfully, the movie is brilliantly shot, so we ourselves get more than the visual rush we may have even expected. The movie relies on itself, a being that lives for excitement, as a bit of a hypocritical entity, because it finds pleasure in the thrills it throws for us much like Jep found in others. Then again, maybe the movie is just representing how exhilarating life can be, as you’ll find magic even past the aesthetics. Nonetheless, calling this beauty great doesn’t even begin to describe it (both in reference to the film and life).
15. Her (2013)
“They’re just letters”. We are told this as a dismissal of the many letters written by Theodore during his job. He writes letters for other people as they just do not feel like writing them themselves: What kind of love is that? To Theodore, that isn’t his way of showing true love, because they’re his work. To him, love is being responded to. Love was his ex, Samantha, and the future. He fixates on the past, gets hooked up with the present, and wonders what’s next. He is right, though. They are just letters: The letters used to program the operating system he fell in love with, however. They are just letters, but that means a lot more to him than he could have ever imagined. He can see past the artificiality, as he is being treated like a human being (through both care and a curious artificially intelligent system). to Spike Jonze, his script is just letters, too, but Her meant the world to us. We were given a new way to look at modern dating, social media, our dependence on technology and where we may end up. Her meant a lot to Theodore. Her was who he once loved, the operating system that taught him to love again, and the woman who was there all along. To us, Her is a comment to pursue love, as it is better to have been in love and be heartbroken than to never experience love again.
14. Boyhood (2014)
It’s a movie about America, but it isn’t very American at all. With Truffaut-ian vignettes pieced together to mimic Mason Jr.’s life, we are reminded that it is “the moments that seize us”. We don’t see Mason Jr.’s first relationship, but we see his most important thus far. We don’t see the good times in regards to some people, as some people made it hard for Mason Jr. to remember when life was alright. If you’re looking for a plot in Richard Linklater’s tasteful epic, you won’t find much of one. That isn’t how life works, and not every movie caters to the standard Hollywood format of crescendos and safe landings. We get to peer into this family’s life for twelve years, and if that ambition alone doesn’t sell this movie to you, there’s also the strategy of what moments of Mason Jr.’s life to use that will work as a chance to win you over. We miss so much of his life because we are only shown specific moments. We don’t need to see Mason Jr. get hired in a restaurant because we can see him already start to work there. Now, to see why that moment is important to him is important to us, too. “Any dipshit can take pictures”, said a teacher of Mason Jr.’s. “Art, now that’s special”, he concluded. I’d have to agree there, and Boyhood is a prime example of living photographs being more than anything anyone can do.
13. Amour (2012)
There is a reason why this Austrian film in French got so much recognition with awards shows that have favored American movies for so long. It is a diabolically tragic story of two retired musicians who have to learn where love becomes its strongest. After Anne, expertly played by Emmanuelle Riva, suffers a stroke and slowly loses control of her body, her husband Georges, played terrifically by Jean-Louis Trintignant, has to take care of her at all costs. It isn’t easy and it won’t try to soften the blows you will get. It is very real, and something you also won’t be able to turn away from. Michael Haneke has dabbled in depressing films before, but Amour is universal. It is an experience we all will face through an event we all are deathly scared of. It is a hard but captivating take on what it means to truly love.
12. La Vie d’Adèle – Chapitres 1 & 2 [Blue Is the Warmest Colour] (2013)
The French title for this film translates to The Life of Adèle – Chapters one and two. As this movie was based on a graphic novel, we are warned that we are only seeing a bit of what was written, as director Abdellatiff Kechiche felt we were given all we needed within the film adaptation. We also see the movie split into two halves: The rise of Adèle’s confidence as a sexual being and the asteroid downfall that features the consequences she thought she’d never have to face in a relationship. For English speakers, we get the title Blue Is the Warmest Colour. Blue was the colour that surrounded Adèle even before she saw Emma and fell in love with her and her signature blue hair. We get the notion that blue represents sadness, and we cling to depression to at least feel like a human again. Adèle does the same throughout her maturation process. She is an outcast in high school and highly dependent once she enters the real world. All Adèle wants is to experience the love we see her find, and this depressing tale of one’s first true adoration is one of the most vibrantly alive films you’ll see for years.
11. The Tree of Life (2011)
Cinematic visionary Terrence Malick has made only a handful of films in his game changing career, and this is easily one of his most inspired movies of his specific filmography.The Tree of Life is at first a dream that wisps away from you while the breathtaking images remain. The older the movie gets, the more the very soft words stick to you. The Tree of Life is an observation of sociology, philosophy, religion and empathy on the first go around, and it’s only a commentary in the basic sense of the word. These themes hit harder each viewing, and the answers become much more complicated. How bad of a father was Brad Pitt’s character truly? Did Jessica Chastain’s motherly role help or weaken her children? Did God create everything if we are shown the universe made in a scientific sense? If he doesn’t, will we still meet our loved ones after it all ends? The Tree of Life is a living painting open to any interpretation; Whichever meaning will touch your soul the most. You travel to the start of time and see the origins of life through the primordial soup. You will then see an early case of both evil and an aware conscience in the days of the dinosaurs. Quickly we are sprinted to the discovery of love and compassion with Jack’s parents. The more Jack learns about good, bad, love and hate, the more we realize that a part of us is within this movie. It contains the developing childhood we dearly miss, and the mature look back that reminds us truly how amazing life is.
10. 127 Hours (2010)
So Danny Boyle directed Slumdog Millionaire and successfully won us over. It’s a movie about a game show, for crying out loud. Yes, there is more going on in this story, but the fact that the Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? bits didn’t come off as shlock is a miracle. Therefore, who would be better fit to direct a movie that mostly takes place in one small space with one lone actor? Boyle, of course. We all understand Aron Ralston’s story and that he survived to tell his tale, but Boyle’s take on this confession of survival is both real and surreal. Its attention to detail is nearly pitch perfect, but it isn’t afraid to enter Ralston’s psyche and dreams. James Franco plays Ralston and is the best he’s ever been (and possibly the best he’ll ever be), as he takes on the whole movie by himself. He dared to journey alone, and you can tell the trip for him wasn’t easy. To take on such an isolated role is quite a feat. This doesn’t come close to the true story of Ralston, though, as you can see truly how incredible he truly was. The amount he withstood is nearly impossible to imagine, even while seeing it on screen. All of the elements combine for the ending, and you will be featured to, all things considered, one of the greatest and most celebratory endings in cinematic history (as far as I’m concerned).
9. Män Som Hatar Kvinnor [The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo] (2010)
Stieg Larsson sadly passed away, but he left behind a trilogy of stunning novels known as the Millennium series (unfortunately, he was working on more, and we may never know truly what he had in store for Lisbeth and Michael). We had David Fincher’s adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and it was also a noteworthy release. It was gritty, raw, imprecise and real. The Niels Arden Oplev release that predated Finchers, however, ends up being my personal favorite of the two. It is far grander in scale, cleaner in style and more cinematic than reclusive. Its grandness zeroes in on Lisbeth more. The cleanliness brings out the horrors of what both Michael and Lisbeth witness even more so. The fact that it is cinematic makes this neo noir its own entity and not just a link to the novel. It’s clearly literary still, as the twists and turns feel like the pages are flying right past you. However, the movie, like its character Lisbeth, backs off enough to stand on its own. The Swedish version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo just feels more damaged and daunting, and these gaping wounds are what make this rendition of the story all the more nerve wracking.
8. Black Swan (2010)
Watch this movie once, and you’ll see a young ballerina who cannot cope with stardom. Watch it a few more times, and you’ll see that Nina Sayers was, perhaps, crazy the entire time. We only see this snippet of her life because it’s when her over-exaggerating mind is at its worst. Darren Aronofsky’s film Black Swan is bold. It is a psychological thriller that was released to compete with the big dogs, including historical dramas, effects heavy epics and political stories. Its budget was so low that Natalie Portman kept performing even with a broken rib (the therapy scene is, in fact, real). The concept is daunting, because it sounds like something we’ve heard before (who hasn’t seen a movie where it’s all in a character’s mind?). Black Swan excels past its peers because of how calculated it truly is. It’s deceptive in what it’s all about (again, was Sayers trustworthy as a perspective to begin with?). It’s very specific with its story (you actually get spoiled the ending many times with how everything works in a circular fashion, and you may not even notice it). It is clever with how it is set up (with its colour scale and camera quality to even the score for the movie being the theme for Swan Lake backwards). Black Swan is brilliant because it isn’t just Nina who is worried that she is imagining things: It’s us, too.
7. Drive (2011)
So many people were disappointed with this movie, as they expected a movie like The Fast and The Furious instead. Many film goers weren’t strapped in for a European love letter to American cinema. No one was prepared for a Steve McQueen-like film to have made a silent hero famous, his wardrobe a must have, and the soundtrack the backing music of our nights ever since. The Driver is quiet with very little to say, and so does the film. There isn’t much attached in it’s message other than how hectic life can be once you associate yourself with crime. Alas, the movie is called Drive because of the drive you get during life’s more troublesome moments. It’s the urge to overcome whatever is in your way. The Driver does this with neon lights, bright colours and large amounts of blood shed on the walls. For me, Drive was a short period of time where I felt alive. I felt like a badass that was The Driver’s wingman. I was there when he sped through the city like a rat in the dark. I felt the sudden fear he had in the motel. He doesn’t have a name, because, like Eastwood’s man with no name, he represents us: the viewer. If you were one of those who were let down by Drive for the previous reasons I had mentioned, I am sorry. For me, Drive was everything I had ever wanted out of a movie with fast cars and crime plots. Here, life goes by faster and the results were way more furious, anyways.
6. The Social Network (2010)
One of the most punk movies to come out in a few years is set behind computers and meanly faced lawyers. The Social Network is as about antidisestablishmentarianism as it is connectivity. Mark Zuckerberg is a sarcasticly mouthed rebel who made Facebook to meet people after his site that picked on people crashed, and thus he only alienated himself from the world. He stole, he lied, he cheated and he ruined. The most anarchist aspect of Fincher’s magnum opus is that it really doesn’t reflect the real story at all. Parts of the truth were pasted onto this story almost like the site Zuckerberg took from the Winklevoss twins: Parts are new but the core is similar enough. Data talk, algorithm chat and lawyer lingo become cool thanks to Sorkins script, and the story of a site we all use became refreshing, new and even prophetic. If this kind of appropriation isn’t punk then I couldn’t disagree with you more.
5. جدایی نادر از سیمین [A Separation] (2011)
Take the voting crisis in Iran and try to speak about it to the world. It’s difficult when an issue won’t hit home for others. Take other issues like divorce, illness, betrayal and crises and everyone can relate. Asghar Farhadi’s A Separation is clever as it tells a story that will shatter all while sneakily reflecting on the after effects of the traumas in Iran. We see the characters passports at the start of the film to see two people affected by the state of Iran. Wife Simin wants to leave and find a better life, but her husband Nader wants to stay to help his ailing father. The actual crisis in Iran is briefly hinted at only once near the start, and so a whole new tale is introduced to those who can understand the subtle wink. The rest of us got a movie as intense as The Hurt Locker within the confinements of a family’s home. A Separation will surely tear your heart apart regardless of your heritage.
4. Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
After The Hurt Locker, Kathryn Bigelow finally hit her stride with what movies she is truly good at. She excels at making unbiased political war thrillers that display human nature more than they say which side is winning. No one wins in war, and Bigelow knows this. Zero Dark Thirty is not just a good movie, but it’s another resounding success. It could have painted Americans to be the big heros but instead it asks if the hunt for Osama Bin Laden was all worth it. He was captured at the titular time, but the name of the movie is about the permanent darkness that surrounds everyone. All that were sacrificed, the many tortured and those put on the line to hunt one man is difficult to watch, especially when the outcome seems uncertain (despite us knowing exactly how it ends). The movie builds up to its twenty five minute climax, and if you didn’t have a heart attack before, you surely will now. Zero Dark Thirty is triumphant with its ability to turn a seemingly easy concept into a metaphor and a statement for us all, and that risk only makes the risks in the movie stronger.
3. Incendies (2010)
Relentless. Absolutely relentless. Incendies carries the amount of political ferocity that The Battle Of Algiers held upon its shoulders. We are introduced to a set of twins, a brother and a sister, who are trying to discover more about their mother upon her deathbed. Absolutely nothing will prepare you for the hard hitting journey this movie supplies, and the twist ending will hammer the final nail in the coffin. Incendies stays with you, and it has more to do with the power Nawal Marwan possesses rather than how shocking every part of her story is (and, believe me, every turn is devastating). She is the ultimate mother role and an unstoppable fighter. What makes Incendies succeed is how much of a story about love it is truly on the inside, where initial viewings will make this film appear to be a test of will power. A movie like The Hurt Locker was a constant rush but was fueled by strategy. Incendies, also a movie on the verge of combusting, thrives on heart. With incredible cinematography, brilliant acting and a little bit of Radiohead, Incendies will, without any smidgen of doubt, be imprinted in your mind for years.
2. 12 Years a Slave (2013)
It isn’t easy to make a defining film, especially when it comes to a huge political issue. Who can make a statement the greatest? Is it even possible? When it comes to displaying the horrors of slavery, we have a bar set so high that it may not even be possible to reach. That bar was set by Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave, and it is the shocking true story of Solomon Northup. It is the kind of movie where you can barely believe what is happening, and sadly it’s all real. You will feel like you have reached your breaking point even twenty minutes into the film, but sadly you haven’t seen anything yet. There is more than just Northup’s survival at stake here. He has his family to return to, his name to keep alive and the people he gets to know who suffer around him. As Northup fights, the conditions for him and the other slaves gets harder. By the end of the movie, you will be left unable to move. Absolutely everything here is perfect and a clear example of just how dynamic a movie can be, especially when it is telling such an incredible story. It seems almost impossible for any movie about slavery to even match 12 Years a Slave, because we may not see this amount of talent (both in front and behind the camera) collected together to bring a harrowing real event to life ever again.
1. The Master (2012)
Paul Thomas Anderson told a story about America. He incorporated sweat, tears and, yes, even blood, to tell it. That movie was There Will Be Blood. It was an anti-western featuring a greedy oilman that was too big for his town as he swallowed it all whole. As it was one of the best films of the last decade, he figured he may as well try to talk about America again. He returned with 2012’s The Master. Instead of a hungry monster, we have an addicted veteran; shell shocked to the brink of perversion and alcohol consumption. Freddie Quell is unloved by all and alone to die. He can’t even walk straight without alcohol, so why shouldn’t he be allowed to stumble with it? He makes many mistakes and cannot, for the life of him, find a way to be normal ever again. He trips his way onto a boat and meets Lancaster Dodd. This nice man finally presents Quell with the family he so desired. He also runs The Cause: A church that can easily be linked to the ways of cultism. It can also be linked to Scientology.
The Master started out being a movie that bashed this obscure religion, but it ended up being dependent on life and sanity. As we are taught, everyone needs their own master, and the movie requires one, too. It cannot decide between Quell, as he is the main character, or Dodd, who is a pathological liar and manipulator. It instead picks America as its own master, because it tours a few states, captures great scenery, and prefers to show the world how the good old United States were back then, rather than take part with these feuding men. Since Quell ruins anything he touches, we still have to face him and his wrath. As we do, we are left wondering this question: Does a man so mentally gone get brainwashed by one of the strongest cults in the world, or does the cult leader finally find it impossible to get everyone to join? As the movie isn’t plot heavy, you may never find out a concrete answer. You will find a movie that you can come back to and keep wondering this thought, though.
The Master is courageous, because it knows it won’t win everybody over. It is as anti-hollywood as it is a love letter to America. It is as cynical about the way people live as it is happy that we live at all. It is open ended, and I don’t think Anderson worried about this at all. There may never be an end to the fight between a lone man and religion, and you do see why a religion may have actually been beneficial for Quell (a place for him to be loved by many would have been very therapeutic). It is awkward in its display of humanistic perversions, but that’s also because we’re not used to such blunt lust. It isn’t afraid to ask rather than tell. The Master discusses our dependency on something to idolize. We all really do have something we worship, whether we know it or not. Paul Thomas Anderson’s master is cinema, and it’s why he put together this gargantuan character study that is so rich in colour, real in performance and pulsating in sound. The Master was a gamble with no end, much like the chance Quell took with The Cause, and it became the greatest film of the decade so far.