Originally Posted by Cop No. 633
Judging by the cut scenes that have floated online or snippets of moments in the trailers, it seems like he shot more than he needed. Maybe it's a sign that he wasn't sure what he wanted and captured as much footage as possible. I remember a couple of script reviews saying it felt unfinished, like a rough draft. And that's how I feel about the film. The film has gems, but it also feels a tad underdeveloped. Maybe he put his faith that everything would fix itself as he shot it, but I think the film would have benefitted from another pass on the script. Maybe this could have benefitted from having another writer help with the process?
I totally agree with this.
In my opinion (which is all it is), I think taking the existing concept of The Master, and tweaking it to one of the following stories, would've helped immensely:
1. The story is about Freddie, the drifter. And ONE of his stops is at The Cause. But it's one of a bunch, and maybe the short time he spends with them causes him to change/alter his behavior for the rest of the film, and what he does with his life.
2. The story is about Dodd, from his POV. Basically, the movie would begin the same as it does (the opening scene is on the boat, and he meets Freddie.) The "story" could've been how Dodd is somewhat influenced/changed/impacted by Freddie, and changes in The Cause reflect this new relationship.
Had the story gone in a direction like that, you would actually have some kind of arc and/or growth of everyone. At the end of the day, the movie starts and ends with Freddie and Dodd not changing or growing at all. Freddie may have "tried" with some of the tests The Cause put him through, but because he was so whacked out, we (as the viewer) couldn't really tell if anything was getting through to him.
It somewhat reminded of "Up in the Air," and how Clooney's character got the rug pulled from under him at the end, and basically went back to his life from the beginning of the movie. HOWEVER, what made that work and The Master not work is that we spent two hours with Clooney, as he was forced to care about others, as well as learn about himself and what he really wants. The journey of the film may have ended back where it started, but we went through a bunch of things to get there. And even with that, Clooney still made some redeemable moves for the people he cared about. In The Master, there was none of that. Again, maybe if they didn't have Freddie so out there, and we could tell his personality was getting better (or even worse), there would be some kind of arc.
But I just didn't see it.