Trailer Trash: The Master
Yeah… You’re gonna want to see this movie.
The first teaser for this film seemed more of a deleted scene or special feature than an actual ad; it was startling, strange and didn’t seem to have anything to do with Scientology like the hype had promised. However it was also stunning: Johnny Greenwood’s discordant and disconcerting score sets the mood for Anderson’s vintage seeming sixteen millimeter footage vignettes, shots that look literally stolen from sixties era films like Five Easy Pieces and The Last Detail. Though it wasn’t Jack Nicholson that we saw within the single shown scene but Joaquin Phoenix, perhaps his contemporary equivalent. It mystified more than It made clear but it was still as good an ad as I had seen for a movie.
Then this trailer came along and doubled down on everything that had come before: the score, still superb; the visual style, still scintillating but no longer were we trapped just with Phoenix, no Phillip Seymour Hoffman joins him here and god damn if I don’t already want to hand him the Oscar. Before seeing Death of a Salesman I wondered what it would be like to see the man in person because he always seems so larger than life on the screen, more of a presence then a person, and The Master seems to be making the most of that. Anderson discovered Hoffman and now he seems set to cement his place in acting history.
Probably, though maybe I’m overreacting. The thing is, though this trailer fits more in the mould suggested but that name it still doesn’t quite feel right; it’s almost more of a short film than anything. It introduces all of these disparate elements and ties them together so terrifically in Anderson’s trademark overwhelming style. The end of the two minute video comes as a relief, the ever increasing complexity becoming almost too much to bear before the climax comes. It’s bravura filmmaking…and it’s only the ad.
Ah! You’re gonna want to see this movie.