Paul Thomas Anderson’s highly anticipated “The Master” screened for the second time publicly last night in Chicago at a hastily arranged benefit for the nonprofit Film Foundation. And the immediate reactions – rapture, admiration, befuddlement – mirrored those following the film’s pop-up presentation at Santa Monica’s Aero Theatre on Aug. 3.
Then again, as A.V. Club film critic Scott Tobias, who saw the movie at Chicago’s Music Box last night, tweeted: “One more thing about ‘The Master:’ It’s comically resistant to instant reaction. A lot of strands in old Duder’s head right now.”
Anderson shot “The Master” to be exhibited in 70mm, a high-resolution format that delivers rich, wide imagery. He has been vocal in championing the format and celluloid itself, though it seems on the verge of extinction.
If that makes Anderson a traditionalist, consider, too, the movie he has made. Though social media sites like Twitter and Facebook lit up after its first two screenings, the movie seems almost deliberately constructed to defy today’s immediate, gotta-be-first, review-by-tweet landscape.