My Impressionistic Fumblings
SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
Surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man.
I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the holy.
Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son's name, if thou canst tell?
The kingdom of man is like hooch down the hatch while every primordial recollection screams condemnation.
The kingdom of man is like fucking a sand sculpture while the tide rolls in.
The kingdom of man is like roiling, rolling, and roaring.
The kingdom of man is like a slow boat to China, never arriving.
Babelic assertions of power. Serpentine grasps at the divine. Gnosis utmostest.
The Master is an Impressionistic work of representation, not a "realistic" one. The narrative of The Master is much more straightforward than something like Malick's Tree of Life, but it nevertheless grasps at its narrative as if shepherding the wind.
As evidenced above, I'm convinced that Anderson is working toward the filmic equivalent of a string of parables and proverbs, dark sayings of old. Let the wise understand.
I'm impressed by Anderson's vision. I'm especially impressed by his mastery in constructing a scene visually and in conducting his actors.
And the story.
Quell is first introduced as landlocked, unable to deal with the shifting sands of life ashore. Dodd is first introduced as master of the waves, completely in control of his kingdom on the water. Yet even Dodd must dock and face the crowds ashore. Life on land is no kinder to Dodd, however, as he deals with one mouthy pig fuck after another. These two men are both happier adrift. One man fancies himself as the only anchor while the other man must live unmoored. Both need to be set apart in order to feel at peace with the world.
The father/son brother/lover dynamics are pale perversions of the Trinitarian mutual self-giving that is the center of the life of this world. Dodd and Quell struggle to love and live as friends and maybe as equals with differing roles, but the relationship fails because Quell cannot live under tyranny and Dodd fails to see that he who would be exalted must be servant of all. Dodd does not know how to glorify anything or anyone other than himself.
Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
Quell (is this an ironic name or not?) may (or may not) find peace at the end of the film. I'm not sure. It does seem as if the real and the unreal have begun to blur and bleed together (if indeed they had ever been separate). All I know is that Quell seems open to experiencing wonder as he shares the words that worked for him. He laughs in a way that Dodd talks about, but can never achieve. Quell is maybe a little ridiculous. He's vulnerable. It is interesting and probably exceedingly important that, at the last, he utters Dodd's "processing" words, as a way of pleasuring someone else in a playful way, while in a relaxed physical and emotional position of submission.
There be three things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not:
The way of an eagle in the air;
the way of a serpent upon a rock;
the way of a ship in the midst of the sea;
and the way of a man with a maid.