Auteur filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson, previously responsible for the likes of Boogie Nights, Magnolia and There Will Be Blood, is back after a five year absence with The Master; a controversial drama inspired by the origins of 'religion'/cult, Scientology. No, it's not a biopic of Scientology founder, L. Ron Hubbard, and no, it's not even a "based on a true story" deal either. Anderson describes it really as a "narrative driven by these two guys, and their love for each other", that happens to use the "beginning of the movement" as an inspiration for the backdrop of these characters.
Here's the IMDb synopsis for you:
"A Naval veteran arrives home from war unsettled and uncertain of his future - until he is tantalized by The Cause and its charismatic leader."That 'Naval Veteran' being Joaquin Phoenix and the 'Charismatic Leader', Philip Seymour Hoffman. Expect some deep underlying themes of the search for meaning, especially since this all comes from the mind of Anderson, who can doubt hit those home to powerful effect. Intellectual. Artful. Most likely Award Winning.
Here's the Trailer:
- It. Looks. BEAUTIFUL.
- Amy Adams co-stars as Mary Sue Dodd, wife of Hoffman's cult-founder, Lancaster Dodd.
- This Lancaster fellow describes himself as "a writer, a doctor, a nuclear physicist, a theoretical philosopher, but above all, I am a Man." -- all things that Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard claimed to be (which critics to this day work to debunk).
- The cult in question, known simply as "The Cause", also draws many similarities to the ideas and the foundations behind Scientology: both begin to evolve after an eventful boat cruise, both involve an auditing scheme, both seem to be heavily scrutinized and both come from the ashes of one of the darkest times in Human history and an era of spiritual discovery of individualism (specifically the point of Phoenix's character).
- Despite this, Anderson has no intention to praise nor criticise the religion, but merely use its incredible story to fuel what is essentially a character study.
- Not just heavy philosophy and character psych-pieces, it seems, as the motor-bike scene gives a glimpse of some fun in these men's tales.
- Think Joaquin Phoenix is standing weird at all? All part of his method acting, says Anderson, with a specific stance to give another layer to this character's physicality of a man lost in a post-war world. His approach was said to be of a Daniel Day-Lewis level of commitment. Yeah, that's pretty high.
- It's obvious tension grows between the two leads, which could potentially be an electrifying conclusion when it reaches its head, especially if paired so masterfully with era-specific tunes of eeriness of the like seen here.
A smart, original and compelling drama -- excited for sure. Actually a lot more than I thought I would be, down to this trailer's brilliance in conveying the wrought out connection of characters and stunning cinematography and direction. November 9th (UK) can't come quick enough for this -- yeah, I'm calling it -- Oscar Contender.
Do your past failures bother you? Is your life a struggle? Is your behaviour erratic? Then you need more Trailers!