We’ve already done quite a bit of dissection of the disorienting trailers for The Master thus far, noting how they seem constructed to put you in the shoes of Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix), the alcoholic veteran who is apparently a bit traumatized and deluded and disoriented himself. Now after a couple sneak 70mm screenings in Chicago and Santa Monica, some critics and fans have gotten to see the mysterious film in full themselves—only to emerge as perplexed as ever. “I'm going to have to sleep on this one,” just about everyone seemed to say.
Of course all that disorientation has never made the trailers any less thrilling, and that’s as true as ever with this final look. This trailer is guided by the beat of Quell banging against a window, and the pounding grows increasingly violent as it goes on. “Man is not an animal,” insists Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Lancaster Dodd, and the pairing of that insistence with Quell’s insistent rattling—for me at least—seems to call back to another heart-pounding scene of self-abuse, from Raging Bull (“I’m not an animal,” LaMotta says).
Now that we’re so close to the release date—it’s out in limited release on September 14—there’s less reason than ever to speculate about what the movie has in store. But here at least is one last thrill to hold you over.
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