Looking At The Masterful New Trailer from Paul Thomas Anderson.
After languishing in development hell for a few years, Paul Thomas Anderson's new film, The Master, will finally see the light of day.
In other words? Yes, Anderson is finally going to get his chance to tell the story of Scientology.
Except, well, no. Sorry. The Master is not about Scientology. Not so far as anyone is willing to admit, at least. Not even while the script shares a lot of similarities with the history of Scientology and its founder. Nope. Everyone from the production crew is remaining mum about film's connections to the actual religion.
But, I mean, if you've been waiting on a Scientology movie, this is probably it.
And, yeah, it looks really good, too.
The movie stars Joaquin Phoenix who plays a drifter named Freddie Sutton. The other star in the film is Philip Seymour Hoffman. He plays Lancaster Dodd, the founder of a new religion he creates after returning from war.
There have been two teasers released so far, both of which tease a very specific piece of the movie. The first revealed Joaquin Phoenix's character. The second one teases out the relationship between Hoffman's character and the drifter.
Now that the full trailer has been released, we have a larger picture of the film. And this much is certain: We can expect another historical epic this time around from Anderson, following right on the heels of the great There Will Be Blood.
As for the trailer itself? It begins with a military doctor talking to a group of military veterans that have likely been identified as having PTSD. The doc talks to them about the weight placed on their shoulders, “the responsibility of a post-war world.” We then see Sutton struggling to deal with that pressure.
Next, Sutton and Dodd meet, and they begin their friendship. Sutton becomes something of a muse for Dodd as he creates his religion and builds it up. Sutton appears to be fairly volatile, too, and the trailer seems to indicate that the environment of the religion he becomes a part of only helps to aid in his fall. He eventually falls into conflict with the organization and things come to a head.
What we like about this trailer is that it indicates that the story of the religion will just be a vehicle to tell the more nuanced story of a troubled veteran struggling to find his way after returning from war.
That's important because, interesting as Scientology might be, the Sutton storyline just feels a little more real. And how: In the trailer, we see one man using his power to build himself up and another being crushed by the weight of his own.
There's a hint of the score here, too, which comes courtesy of Radiohead's Johnny Greenwood. That's his second in a row for Anderson, and it's pretty pitch-perfect for the trailer, building up emotion where it needs to and being airy enough to let the story tell itself.
Overall, it's just a fantastic trailer.
That's to be expected from Anderson, though.
He gives us just enough with a trailer to hint at the story, and he keeps things vague enough to leave the viewer eager for more.
Look for the movie to come to theaters this fall.
Trailer Grade: A