By cookiedibbs on 9/30/2012
The center failure of this movie is that Jacquin Phoenix (Freddy) is so hard to watch in this movie and even harder to care about. I found myself wanting to look away every time he was on screen. It's hard to get into a movie when you just want the main character to go away. On the other hand, Philip Seymour Hoffman as Dodd cracks with intelligence in his scenes and is as mesmerizing as a cult leader should be. Amy Adams is subversive as Dodds's wife, with the sweet exterior but with a laser's ability to cut out what isn't good for the cause - be it Freddy or Dodd's cheating ways. She is a take-no-prisoners character but without entering into the evil witch role. Quite a lovely performance. The movie itself just didn't seem to know where it wanted to go. You leave the theater thinking: so what? It doesn't take a position on the cult - just kind of skirts that issue, and the Freddy/Dodd relationship never seems to make any sense because Dodd's character isn't developed enough for us to understand why he would keep this loser around. Father/son relationship? Homo/erotic relationship? Out of boredom with his life? I didn't know and mostly I didn't care.