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Watch This Trailer: 'The Master' Is Totally Not About Scientology

Paul Thomas Anderson is one of those directors that film nerds and other more reasonable people seem to universally respect as a brilliant auteur. It's fitting then that his sixth film be dubbed _The Master_. _The Master_ in question here though isn...
June 22, 2012, 4:10pm

Paul Thomas Anderson is one of those directors that film nerds and other more reasonable people seem to universally respect as a brilliant auteur. It’s fitting then that his sixth film be dubbed The Master.

The Master in question here though isn’t necessarily Anderson, it’s a character played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman, a charismatic intellectual who launches a new religion after World War II known as “The Cause”. Sound familiar?

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Though people close to the film have repeatedly stated The Master is not about scientology, and representatives from the Church of Scientology have also denied any similarities or even an interest in the film, it’s pretty hard not to draw a comparison. It reminds me of Ridley Scott’s vehement denial that Prometheus would be an alien movie. SPOILER ALERT: It was, and it sucked.

Two teaser trailers have been released for The Master and at the risk of sounding like a PTA fan boy (guilty) they are incredible. I think in the long run they will stand as a true testament to the art of trailer editing. To say I have high hopes for this film based on these trailers is an understatement (NOTE: Speaking of Prometheus, I had really high hopes for that too…)

The first teaser, released on May 21, focuses on co-star Joaquin Phoenix, who plays a WWII vet turned drifter named Freddie Quell. In this 1:40 clip, Phoenix lets it be known that not only is he back, but that he’ll be undoubtedly taking home a whole slew of acting awards and all you haters can kiss his ass in hell. Just try and not be hypnotized by this:

The second teaser, done largely in the same style and released on June 19, highlights the amazing performances of Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams with another brief glimpse into Phoenix’s character:

Beyond the next level acting, jaw dropping 65mm cinematography courtesy of Mihai Malaimare Jr, and wonderfully strange Johnny Greenwood score, I am also a huge fan of the simple and carefully measured editing of both previews.

The folks behind the marketing of The Master appear to really get what Paul Thomas Anderson is going for. More importantly they’ve also effectively crafted two mind blowing trailers that are able to excite the viewer while not giving away too much. They did all this without resorting to highly stylized trailer editing cliches, awkward sound design, or a hit song. It’s rare that you get to see such elegance and breath in any kind of commercial, especially a movie trailer, so enjoy it while you can.

Follow O'Coin on Twitter @OCOIN.

Watch This Trailer is an ongoing series meant to draw Motherboard readers' attention to the art of film advertising. For better or for worse. Previously on Watch This Trailer: Dark Knight Rises Number Something.