Dennis D. McDonald ( is an independent consultant located in Alexandria Virginia. His services and capabilities are described here. Application areas include project, program, and data management; market assessment, digital strategy, and program planning; change and content management; social media; and, technology adoption. Follow him on Google+. He also publishes on and aNewDomain.

Paul Thomas Anderson's THE MASTER

Movie review by Dennis D McDonald

HoffmanThe Master pairs a charismatic cult leader (played by Philip Seymour Hoffman) with an enigmatic loser (played by Joaquin Phoenix). The cult leader adopts the loser into his “family,” intent on making him a test for the evolving personality transformation process that lies at the center of his “movement.”

How their tangled relationship evolves is the basis for the movie.

PhoenixThe Master is engrossing, thought-provoking, expertly acted [an understatement!], very adult, gorgeously photographed, tightly scripted — and challenging.

The bond between the two characters is never clearly explained. Master and pupil (as the title implies)? Or two dissimilar peas in a pod, one reflecting the other?

A clear understanding of their relationship remains tantalizingly just out of reach throughout the film, but that’s one of the intellectual and emotional appeals of this movie. Highly recommended.

Review copyright (c) 2014 by Dennis D. McDonald


Dustin Hoffman's QUARTET