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Trailer Review: Paul Thomas Anderson returns in top form with 'The Master'

The Weinstein Company

By Andrew McClure, Daily Arts Writer
Published September 13, 2012

Bold directors allow audiences to embody key characters and, for better or for worse, reshape their perception on humankind.

Anderson is one of those guys, and his 1950’s-set high drama about the inception of Scientology looks equal parts ambitious and petrifying.

A cast consisting of Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams and Joaquin Phoenix predicts a stupid-good film. Hoffman plays a charismatic “Master” of an incipient religious practice, which focuses around a contentious Cause. Adams portrays his ideologically faithful spouse. Then there’s Phoenix: the enigma and the nucleus of the plot. His role as a returning Naval veteran diverts paths once connected with Hoffman and his side-pocket sanctimony.

Anderson fuses stimulating thematic elements with deep characters, and then handcrafts a story with the perspective and scope that most couldn’t even dream up. “The Master” will teem with pitch-quiet dialogue, offbeat camerawork and plenty of psychosis. Oh, and Jonny Greenwood (you know, the Radiohead deity) is composing yet another score for this film. Get ready to feel.