Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
The Availability Gap: What We Lose When Netflix Wins The Availability Gap: What We Lose When Netflix Wins Mysteries of Laura Review: Debra Messing on NBC Mysteries of Laura Review: Debra Messing on NBC 'No Good Deed' Reviews: And the Twist Is That It's Good! (Not Really) 'No Good Deed' Reviews: And the Twist Is That It's Good! (Not Really) Daily Reads: The 50 Worst Movies Ever Made, The Last Blockbuster Video Stores and More Daily Reads: The 50 Worst Movies Ever Made, The Last Blockbuster Video Stores and More Comparing Lena Dunham to Woody Allen Is Unfair — to Lena Dunham Comparing Lena Dunham to Woody Allen Is Unfair — to Lena Dunham NY Times TV Critic Writes Article About 'Scandal' Creator Shonda Rhimes as an 'Angry Black Woman' NY Times TV Critic Writes Article About 'Scandal' Creator Shonda Rhimes as an 'Angry Black Woman' Now Streaming: 'Silver Linings Playbook,' 'Beginners' on Netflix Now Streaming: 'Silver Linings Playbook,' 'Beginners' on Netflix Studio Cancels All Screenings of 'No Good Deed' to Preserve Shocking Twist That It's Probably Terrible Studio Cancels All Screenings of 'No Good Deed' to Preserve Shocking Twist That It's Probably Terrible Why the Unanimous Praise for 'Boyhood' Is Bad for Film Criticism — and for 'Boyhood' Why the Unanimous Praise for 'Boyhood' Is Bad for Film Criticism — and for 'Boyhood' 'A Walk Among the Tombstones' Reviews: A Liam Neeson Movie Worthy of Liam Neeson 'A Walk Among the Tombstones' Reviews: A Liam Neeson Movie Worthy of Liam Neeson 'Ocean's Twelve' Is a Great Sequel About How Hard It Is to Make a Great Sequel 'Ocean's Twelve' Is a Great Sequel About How Hard It Is to Make a Great Sequel 'While We're Young': Noah Baumbach's Xer-Millennial Comedy Ponders the Difference Between Sharing People's Lives and Stealing Them 'While We're Young': Noah Baumbach's Xer-Millennial Comedy Ponders the Difference Between Sharing People's Lives and Stealing Them Daily Reads: Alison Bechdel Likes Non-Bechdel Test Passing Movies, Terry Gilliam's Influence and More Daily Reads: Alison Bechdel Likes Non-Bechdel Test Passing Movies, Terry Gilliam's Influence and More David Lynch on 'Eraserhead,' Women in the TV Industry David Lynch on 'Eraserhead,' Women in the TV Industry Criticwire Classic of the Week: Werner Herzog's 'Aguirre, the Wrath of God' Criticwire Classic of the Week: Werner Herzog's 'Aguirre, the Wrath of God' 'Transparent' Reviews: Amazon's New Series Is a Game-Changer 'Transparent' Reviews: Amazon's New Series Is a Game-Changer 'The Expendables 3' Torrent and the Techno-Utopian Delusion 'The Expendables 3' Torrent and the Techno-Utopian Delusion Newspaper Graciously Offers to Run Aspiring Film Critics' Work Without Charging Them Newspaper Graciously Offers to Run Aspiring Film Critics' Work Without Charging Them Daily Reads: Why Toronto Is the Best Place for Female Filmmakers, In Praise of Fincher's Women and More Daily Reads: Why Toronto Is the Best Place for Female Filmmakers, In Praise of Fincher's Women and More Daily Reads: The Death of Adulthood, the Future of Film in 'Snowpiercer' and More Daily Reads: The Death of Adulthood, the Future of Film in 'Snowpiercer' and More

A Masterful Trailer That Doesn't Spoil the Movie

Criticwire By Matt Singer | Criticwire August 28, 2012 at 3:57PM

"The Master" tells you almost nothing about the movie. Which is awesome.
1
"The Master."
"The Master."

I don't post a lot of trailers on Criticwire because I generally think there's something unhealthy about reading too deeply into marketing -- at best, it spoils everything; at worst, it creates false expectations -- but I will post this trailer for "The Master" because it feels like it was made by someone who feels exactly the way I do.

Major releases typically get two coming attractions: a teaser and a trailer. The teaser usually runs a minute to ninety seconds in length, offers tantalizing glimpses but scant concrete details (hence the name). The trailer runs about two and a half minutes, and provides more information: the broad strokes of plot and character, along with a few questions that the audience will want to have answered by seeing the finished film. For example, the very first teaser for "Inception" makes no attempt to explain its remarkable, trippy visuals, while the full trailer describes Leonardo DiCaprio's job and lays out the basic rules of how this incepting technology works.

This "final theatrical trailer" for "The Master," on the other hand, breaks all the rules of what a trailer is supposed to look like. It's just over a minute long. It reveals almost nothing about the movie's content. It tells us the bare minimum we need to know to make a ticket purchasing decision -- that the cast includes Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, and Joaquin Phoenix; that it was written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson; that Hoffman creates some sort of alternative religion that one character rather pointedly refers to as a "cult" -- and leaves the rest for the paying customer to discover. It plays like a first teaser, not a last one.

There's no inkling of what brings the characters together or the specifics of a plot, and certainly no hint of where the conflicts might go. Just provocative imagery, odd, disquieting sounds, and an impressive creative pedigree. 

Ironically, this might be a more accurate and detailed sales pitch than it first seems. If the reactions from early preview screenings are to be believed, "The Master" is dense, lush, and mysterious. If the movie doesn't spoon-feed the audience, why should the marketing? If this trailer is too vague for you, then maybe this isn't going to be cup of tea.

This article is related to: The Master, Movie Trailers


E-Mail Updates