Philip Seymour Hoffman in ‘The Master’: Creepiest Performance of 2012?

ALTA few weeks ago, after previewing footage at the Cannes Film Festival, the masses got their first taste of the latest effort from director Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights, (There Will Be Blood): the ’50s-set, religious drama, The Master. Pegged by many as a loose riff on the history of Scientology, the film stars Joaquin Phoenix as a man seduced by the teachings and words of a charismatic leader known as “The Master.” After a few years out of the spotlight, the first clip from the film popped up unexpectedly to remind us just how good an actor Phoenix is, a sliver of his raw performance sending chills up spines. Now we have a second tease, this time featuring Philip Seymour Hoffman as the titular character — and he’s just as frightening as one might expect.

Coupled with a sparse acoustic score, Hoffman’s intellectual musings feel equally as fierce as Daniel Day-Lewis is There Will Be Blood, albeit with a hushed presentation. Amy Adams, who pops up briefly in the footage, looks like the end result of The Master’s mind game. Smiling, supportive and a bit blank.

The Master is already leaving its mark, even in a crowded summer season. Oscar contender? You bet. Check out the clip and keep an eye out for The Master, which hits limited theaters October 12, 2012.

Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches


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[Photo Credit: Weinstein Company]

Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Master