It's obviously a work of passion for its creator, who stages it with his typical flair and inventiveness. And yet it never quite persuades us to believe in its convictions, its viewpoints, even its sense of purpose.
The reason the protagonist could not have been Dodd is simply because his character comes from a place of weakness with no way of redeeming himself because he is unwilling to change. This is true with the leader of Scientology as well. With an objective view on the cult, PTA can give a personal human story that deconstructs how a cult can fully manipulate a person's life. The protagonist has a dilemma in the film, pretty much do I sat or do I go? And behind that essential question is a deeper motivation for the character known as Freddie and I cannot think of anyone else, but Joaquin in this role because he simply was this man. Great film, a personal story that may lack in other departments, but its' sense of purpose is not lacking at all. The viewpoints were obvious so that goes to show that you have no idea if Dodd was a protagonist or an antagonist, but you later are hypocritical saying that you thought the movie may be better with Dodd as a protagonist which shows that you inferred he was an antagonist. The leader of The CAuse being an antagonist in the film is obvious right there to see an important viewpoint. Its' not hard to believe in that viewpoint if you followed the movie. If any complains could be made for the film's entirety it's that the focus of a character study of these two central characters was over-bearing on the plot.
Sep 22 - 11:03 PM
@ Tony Despres, your right on the mark with the whole purpose bit and your ending statement, but I'm not quite sure if you can make the assumption that the viewpoints are obvious. I think if the film lacked anything, it would be the lack of a third party that would act as a common denominator between Dodd and Freddie, whereby the third party could supply us with a viewpoint apart from a drunken madman's willingness to accept any help, whether good or bad, and a crazed physicist's inability to think outside of his own ideals. We do see a couple moments where this third viewpoint can be distinguished, like when the old man claims his "processing" is just a watered down hypnosis, but those challenges are only momentarily, which is frustrating. As a viewer, I had the natural tendency to want to challenge the ideals in "The Cause" throughout the entire film. A third pary would have provided some effective link between the audience and the film itself, which would in turn enable some viewers the relief of knowing either character's true conviction in regards to the amount of idealism they actually stood by.
Sep 25 - 10:30 AM
Very well said. It had a potential of being great but it failed...
Sep 23 - 01:36 PM
I agree...after the 2 1/2 hour slog I found myself wondering, "What was the point?" The movie handled L Ron Hubbard and Scientology with kid gloves; certainly it didn't endorse them but didn't castigate them either. I didn't see any pivotal event that led to Freddie's separation from Dodd...it seemed to be pure impulse, something Kramer on Seinfeld would do, "just because." And I didn't a particular reason he decided not to rejoin. Two and a half hours to walk out shrugging my shoulders, saying "So what?" to all of it.
Sep 23 - 11:15 PM
Dude, it's a movie, not some lierary classic. Get over yourself.
Sep 24 - 07:43 AM