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The Master

October 12, 2012

Offering only marginally more to go on than that tiny, barely there bit of negative, the first teaser for Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master has made its way to the web. The film, of course, has long been suspected to be a thinly veiled history of Scientology, what with it focusing on Philip Seymour Hoffman's character creating a faith-based organization based entirely on his own cult of personality, and David Miscavige no doubt sending people to root through Anderson's garbage every night. But you definitely won't get any of that here. Instead this preview focuses entirely on Hoffman's soon-to-be right hand (and eventual Doubting Thomas) as played by Joaquin Phoenix, whose recent fake-yet-still-basically-real-flameout lends an edge to his being interrogated by a military doctor following a mysterious breakdown. Phoenix mumbles, makes some sand-boobs, and generally creates an unsettling mood that suggests he'll be easy pickings for Hoffman's "The Cause"—and meanwhile, the teaser does plenty of its own seducing.