Director Paul Thomas Anderson talked with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show last night. In one of the more serious discussions I’ve seen Stewart conduct, he questioned Anderson about his writing process and his ability to get such unique performances from his actors. In his recent talks about The Master, Anderson has continued to push the concept of “searching” and allowing his characters to go in directions that “they” want to go rather than where he, as creator, wants to take them to go. This frustrating mission to convey that The Master is, at its very core, about human behavior by way of, well, human behavior, has alienated more than a few who are seeking specific answers about the movie.
Seeming awkwardly uncomfortable as ever, the director did mention that filmmaking can’t “just be a process of searching,” and that at some point there needs to be a process to it. I find it interesting how much Anderson has evolved along his own course as an artist. His early works were filled with protracted indulgences (albeit, exciting indulgences) that were constructed down to every tiny camera move. His newest films are exploration of the human psyche. He hasn’t lost his interest in how cinematic expression can heighten performance, but he does seem determined to put tiny nuances of psychology on-screen that are as yet unseen by audiences.