It’s been a very long time since Paul Thomas Anderson had a film in cinemas. Five years have passed since There Will Be Blood, the film which defined the first decade of the new millennium and the further away we get from it the better it continues to get. As a result, the expectations for his follow up are high and the wait for his new project has been tortuous. But, after a few years of development, The Master will hit cinemas in October and today we have the first clip.
Tonally the clip is very close that of There Will Be Blood, thanks to the Jonny Greenwood score combined with what are very locked off shots that feel as if Anderson has placed the camera in a random spot and just allowed the action to flow. It also has a very improvisational feel about it, despite it obviously being rigorously scripted by Anderson.
The content of the clip includes Joaquin Phoenix‘s drunken Freddie Sutton being interrogated by an official of some sort about an indiscretion, an event preceding that scene which we have no knowledge of. It intercuts between Phoenix on a beach and on a submarine. Presumably this takes place before the main action of the film, where Phoenix is taken under the wing of Philip Seymour Hoffman‘s character; the eponymous Master, who runs some form of cult that may or may not be an allegory for Scientology.
Despite being away from acting for 4 years and having effectively torched his career with that grand “art” stunt of becoming a rap star that spectacularly backfired, Phoenix looks to have not lost the great talent he once showed in films like Gladiator and Walk the Line.
As for Philip Seymour Hoffman, I can’t wait to see what the reliably excellent actor is doing with his character. According to early reports he is nothing short of magnetic.
Everyone is being notoriously tight lipped about the production and this is the first official material we’ve seen. The film was widely expected to debut at Cannes but didn’t and it is unlikely we’ll see anything of it before it hits theatres on October 12th.
The Master stars Hoffman and Phoenix alongside Amy Adams, Lena Endre, Laura Dern, Jesse Plemons and Kevin J. O Connor.