The first clip from Paul Thomas Anderson’s long-awaited religious drama The Master surfaced online today, featuring Joaquin Phoenix in his first role since “retiring” from acting over three years ago (for the mockumentary I’m Still Here). The film stars Paul Thomas Anderson regular Philip Seymour Hoffman as a charismatic World War II veteran who, haunted by his experiences, decides to start his own religion called “The Cause” (inspired by Scientology). We see little of Hoffman in this first clip however, which focuses instead on Phoenix’s young drifter who becomes his right-hand man. It’s refreshing to see a promo clip prioritise performances over plot, and Phoenix looks absolutely sensational here – both dangerous and charming – and this will likely be one of his best roles yet. Once again Jonny Greenwood’s score sounds like nothing else, with some unique percussion being used in this clip, and Mihai Malaimare Jr.’s cinematography looks stunning. This is Paul Thomas Anderson’s first film in five years – following his masterpiece There Will Be Blood – so expectations are phenomenally high, but with the talent involved and PTA’s terrific track record, I doubt that The Master will have trouble meeting these.
The Master also stars Amy Adams, Laura Dern, Jesse Plemons, and David Warshovsky, and is due October 12 in the US. Watch the first teaser clip below (via The Playlist).