The buzz on The Master couldn’t not be at a higher pitch. Couched in mystery, the film has earned the raves and gold trophies of those that have seen it, and the curiosity and preemptive protest of those that have yet to see Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest film.
A jam-packed premiere in New York City on Tuesday night drew fans, a throng of media and, maybe, outraged Scientologists that have been riled up by the film’s basis in the early days of L. Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics movement. There was extra security hired by the film’s distributor, The Weinstein Company; whether they were required, or even scared off potential protestors, was hard to determine in the thick of the crowd in front of the Ziegfeld Theater on 54th street in Manhattan.
With co-stars Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman not able to make the event, Amy Adams, who plays the true-believer wife of Hoffman’s cult leader Lancaster Dodd, was charged with speaking with the press. She has a number of films coming out over the next few months, and one, an adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s classic novel On the Road, offers many unexpected similarities to The Master: a post-World War II setting, lost souls, and small communities.