Today was a transitional one (and a holiday here in the U.S., Presidents Day – a third-tier holiday, but still a day off), and I spent most of my time around the house adjusting to the London-to-NYC time change. Now watching a mysteriously acclaimed film called “The Master,” directed by Paul Thomas Anderson.
The soundtrack, by Radiohead guitarist Johnny Greenwood, is reminiscent of that that accompanied another Anderson film, “There Will Be Blood,” which Greenwood also scored. Radiohead the band never did that much for me – too anodyne, too acclaimed by Internet trolls – but Greenwood’s soundtrack work is nicely asynchronous – it doesn’t go with the action on-screen and instead sort of becomes its own imaginary plot line.
The music over the opening beach and ship scenes, for instance, makes me think of a dance occurring in the desert, which obviously isn’t what’s unfolding on the screen. In a way, the Greenwood soundtrack is a throwback to the silent movie era, in which music dominated the proceedings because dialogue didn’t exist. It’s like he is dragging music from another era into the present, which is perfect for “The Master”‘s blend of meticulous 21st century film making and portrayal of a bygone era.