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‘The Master’: New trailer for Paul Thomas Anderson’s mysterious new movie

Will Perkins
Wide Screen
June 19, 2012

Another mysterious trailer for Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master" has appeared online, popping up seemingly out of nowhere on YouTube late Monday night.

The film is Anderson's highly anticipated follow-up to the award-winning "There Will Be Blood," and the director's first movie in over five years. While details about the enigmatic director's latest remain scarce, "The Master" is said to follow a drifter named Freddie Sutton (Joaquin Phoenix) who falls in with a cult-like religion after the Second World War.

Called "The Cause," the organization is led by the brilliant Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a writer, thinker, and the self-styled "Master" of the group. Sutton slowly rises in the organization, eventually becoming Dodd's right-hand man. The film also stars Amy Adams as Dodd's wife Mary Sue.

Check out the second trailer for P.T. Anderson's "The Master" below.

While the new trailer for "The Master" offers a little more insight than the previous teaser, there's still not much that can be gleaned about the film from it. Where the first trailer focused on a very troubled Sutton (Phoenix) being told he has problems, this trailer's primary focus is on Sutton's first introduction to the so-called "Master," a man who seems fascinated by the disturbed drifter.

Many have pointed to the uncanny parallels between the religion found in "The Master" and the real-life Church of Scientology. The controversial religion/self-help system was founded by author L. Ron Hubbard, a similiarly eccentric character who resembles Hoffman more than just a little. As well, the questions directed at Sutton by Hoffman's character in the trailer sound eerily like some of the questions reportedly asked by Scientology "stress tests."

Anderson, for his part, hasn't confirmed if the movie is meant to be about Scientology, but the director reportedly screened the film for high-profile Scientologist Tom Cruise (who starred in Anderson's "Magnolia") recently, and the star was said to "have issues" with parts of the movie. That alone is reason enough to suspect that "The Master" may in fact feature some not-so-subtle allegory to the religion.

Whatever the film is actually about is almost beside the point. Viewers still know next to nothing about the movie, and you've got to give credit to Anderson for that. Aside from the incredible acting on display from both Phoenix and Hoffman, these trailers are doing their job extremely well -- primarily by getting potential viewers invested in the film without really giving anything away. That's what a trailer should do.

In this day and age of teasers and trailers that give almost everything away, seeing bits and pieces of "The Master" like this is incredibly refreshing.

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