Our first glimpse of The Master focused on Joaquin Phoenix’s squirrely Freddie Sutton. The latest spot for Paul Thomas Anderson’s forthcoming religious study casts the net wider but is no less intense. Anderson once again uses Jonny Greenwood’s spare-to-the-point-of-stress-inducing strum-and-drum orchestration underneath the interactions between Sutton and The Master himself, Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman).
Crackling volatility keeps their tug-of-war relationship taut as the “hopelessly inquisitive” Dodd bores into Sutton’s psyche. He may have smiling eyes and a lovely wife (Amy Adams), but it’s quite clear that Dodd is relentless. But is he a prophet or a Master manipulator? (Or both?) You’re going to need to take a few deep breaths after watching this one.
The Master opens Oct. 12.