Paul Thomas Anderson’s THE MASTER Theatrical Trailer
By Joe Vanourney
The first official trailer for THE MASTER, Paul Thomas Anderson’s first film in five years, has been released. THE MASTER stars Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Amy Adams, and is rumored to delve into the world and history of a Scientology-like organization. The trailer follows the release earlier this year of a couple of film clips released in conjunction with the Cannes Film Festival.
The trailer focuses on Phoenix’s character, a spiritually lost, confused alcoholic who stumbles upon Hoffman, a charismatic writer (reported to be based loosely on Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard) who offers spiritual guidance. (via Yahoo! Movies).
The trailer does a good job of portraying the dazed mindset of Phoenix’s character in just a couple minutes of quick edits. I don’t know if this trailer will win over the general public on first viewing. But the film does have a few things working in its favor:
First, director Anderson is one of the greatest living American directors working today. Yes, he can be pretentious. Yes, some studio suits have found him difficult to work with. But his body of work speaks for itself. “Boogie Nights” and “Magnolia” are modern-day masterpieces. Sure, there was that misstep called “Punch Drunk Love,” but Anderson redeemed himself from that mess with “There Will Be Blood,” earning eight Academy Award nominations including two for himself (Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay) and a win for Daniel Day-Lewis (Best Actor). He is skilled technically, has mastered composition, and is a proficient craftsman.
Second, the film has three Oscar-bait actors working with Oscar-bait material. It is quite feasible, just by looking at the material presented in the trailer, that Phoenix, Hoffman and Adams could ALL be nominated for awards. Sure it is still early to make those kinds of calls, but I think it would be a safe bet.
Finally, the film is being distributed by The Weinstein Company and every year, Harvey Weinstein has one film (sometimes two) that he throws all of his money behind in order to win the Best Picture Oscar. Last year it was “The Artist” (which won). The year before that it was “The King’s Speech” (also won). You cannot deny his influence and clout with the Academy. This year, Weinstein will split his attention between “The Master” and Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained.” Both will have heavy campaigns for the Best Picture, Director, Screenplay and Actor categories. If the reviews are good, that, combined with award-season campaigning, could bring box-office attention from those moviegoers who might otherwise overlook a film like this.
From Annapurna Pictures and The Weinstein Company, the film will be in theaters October 12,2012.