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CANNES - In a few moments, I'll be leaving my apartment to go to a special cocktail party that the Weinstein Company is throwing to debut footage from several of their new films. However, I don't even have to put my pants on to get my first look at Paul Thomas Anderson's highly-anticipated "The Master," since the film's first teaser trailer just appeared online.
I spotted it when Megan Ellison, one of the film's producers, tweeted a link to the film's official site, and all that they have there right now is the trailer. I've watched it twice, and the first thing I take away from it is that I'm thrilled Joaquin Phoenix is back on his game. I wasn't crazy about his Tony Clifton phase, and I think he is a very interesting actor. He's totally different than his brother River was, but they do share an ability to lay themselves emotionally bare if they get hold of the right material. It's exciting to see Phoenix in a film that looks like it may be something very special.
Of course, looking at this teaser trailer, you'd be hard-pressed to guess what the film is actually about, and I like that as well. We've been hearing since before it started shooting that it seems to be about a charismatic cult leader, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, and the birth of his organization. Many people have speculated that the film is a veiled look at the birth of Scientology, and perhaps that's true. There's none of that in this first look, though.
Instead, we just meet Phoenix's character, who appears to be deeply troubled and on his way home at the end of WWII. It's an effective bit of mood and character, and while I doubt we'll ever see this in a theater as an actual trailer, as a first look, it works.
The only thing I'm curious about now is if we'll see more of it at tonight's function, or if this is the piece that they'll show there. I'll certainly report back afterwards, especially since there is also "Django Unchained" footage screening, and I'm sure you'll want to hear about that.
"The Master" will most likely open in the US later this year.