Most modern Hollywood cinema, even gritty, artistic, grown-up movies like those Paul Thomas Anderson likes to make, usually rehash old and common tropes. And in The Master, after delving deep into the psyche of an amoral villain in There Will Be Blood, we meet what apparently is his take on the motif of Ahasver.
How much Coleridgian concept is in this story about a traumatized seaman that restlessly wanders the world in search of some sense in life? – I am not going to speculate, but the proximities to certain tropes that not only belong to the Wandering Jew, but also to “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”, are definitely there.
Granted, the emphasis on the story lies, like in There Will Be Blood, on people’s hypocrisy, with the conventiently drastic imagery that sexual amorality provides. But there’s the wanderer trope, and the maritime connection, and a few key quotes here and there that suggest a – probably completely unwanted – proximity to the classical text.
Now, we are not so short on topics to write about that I would need to shoehorn this connection into the movie; but, by Hextor, there’s even an Albatross-like plot device in it! …Interesting. 🙂