Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Master - Preview

A charismatic intellectual (who may or may not be based entirely on L Ron Hubbard) starts a popular American cult after surviving WWII. A young drifter becomes his right-hand man. Presumably things don't end all that well.

To be honest, the premise for Paul Thomas Anderson's new film, The Master, is not overly enticing. But everything else about it is. Phillip Seymour Hoffman is the cult leader, Joaquin Phoenix is his wing man, Amy Adams and Laura Dern are along for the ride, Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood makes the music again and, obviously, Paul Thomas Anderson writes & directs. No further explanation needed. I'm there.

PT Anderson has yet to make a bad movie, or one not distinctly a PT Anderson original (even when channeling Scorsese - directly - and Altman - loosely - in Boogie Nights & Magnolia, respectively). His first three films took in huge, sprawling, brilliant casts playing out complex multiple story lines. His last two, and now The Master, are oddball character studies ranging from the cute and quirky (Punch Drunk Love) to the deeply eccentric (There Will Be Blood). Time will tell exactly where The Master lies (and just how offended the Church of Scientology should reportedly be) but following There Will Be Blood, there is no doubt Anderson is a filmmaker working at the top of his game. We should have much to look forward to.