The Washington Post

Watch Joaquin Phoenix act again in ‘The Master’ trailer

Joaquin Phoenix, showing off his talents again in a clip from “The Master.” (Matt Sayles/Associated Press)

A teaser for Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master” — a drama from the director of “There Will Be Blood” that purportedly examines the evolution of a Scientology-esque organization — was unveiled online today.

The 1:40 clip doesn’t reveal much in terms of plot, nor does it show us any footage of Philip Seymour Hoffman, who plays the leader of the religious group. Instead it focuses on Phoenix, who hasn’t been in a movie since 2010’s faux documentary “I’m Still Here” and hasn’t played someone other than a melting-down version of himself since 2008’s “Two Lovers.”

Phoenix comes across as effectively troubled, messy, with a glint of foggy wildness in his eyes. It’s impossible to look away from the extreme close-ups on his addled face. And that’s terrific news for those who are eager to see Phoenix acting instead of mumbling incoherently and pretending to pursue a career as a rapper. Watch the clip for the film, due out in October, below.

When she isn’t at a movie theater or writing about movies, Jen Chaney is ... um ... probably at home, watching a movie.

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