I haven’t seen Inherent Vice yet (god-willing I will have seen it by the time you are reading this), but I hope it signals a new direction for Paul Thomas Anderson, not because I am tired of his examination of the darkness in solitary men, but because he has so perfectly examined this in his previous three films. Punch-Drunk Love‘s Barry Egan (Adam Sandler) has a boiling rage that is finally ameliorated when he finds another person with whom to share his life. There Will Be Blood‘s Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) tries to do the same, but his overwhelming greed is too much to bear. But what of the two main characters in The Master? Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) and Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman) battle the same darkness as these other men, but head-on. Is the outlook for them any better than that for Daniel Plainview?