VISUAL F#CKERY: THE MASTER RORSCHACH TEST

Critic/analyst Jacob T. Swinney put together a Rorschach version of memorable visuals scenes in Paul Thomas Anderson's 2012 film The Master. The result is a trippy symmetrical montage of Anderson's movie, mostly using scenes of Joaquin Pheonix, creating a filmic version of the image-association psychological method that forces you to question the subconscious visuals your mind automatically recognizes.

Swinney's explanation of his exercise is that is calls attention to the "visual motif" of the film that "seems to be characters framed dead-center, or straight lines creating a 'folding-point' down the middle of the frame." By cutting the screen in half and folding it over, the final image is a Rorschach-like version of the same scene. It's certainly visually compelling, and focuses on Anderson's use of symmetry within the film, but I'll admit to being somewhat lost on the grander point of this revelation. Since your mind doesn't automatically reimagine the images as Rorschached – cut in half and doubled – does the Rorschach-like quality of the scene register as significant when we're watching it? Or is it only in reflection that the symmetry becomes an important element of the story? Watch Swinney's video and decide for yourself. Either way the movie's dumb gorgeous.

(Check out more of Swinney's videos on film analysis and director technique on Vimeo, they're pretty sweet.)

(Check out more of Swinney's videos on film analysis and director technique on Vimeo, they're pretty sweet.)