Thomas Browne’s review published on Letterboxd:
Enigmatically captivating from start to finish, The Master displays Paul Thomas Anderson's range of writing and directorial power. Exceptional cinematography, staging, lighting, and movement is coupled harmoniously with a score that creates so complete and precise a tone that we are pulled into and under this film very much like the waves in the wake of our opening shot.
Beautiful direction allows for some of the best performances from our incredible cast, with a true masterclass being offered up by the central performances by Joaquin Pheonix and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman.
Not only is this film so beautifully shot that every frame could be mistaken for a Dutch Master Painting, it is a successful albeit complicated study that explores faith, acceptance, addiction, insanity, society, and cult through the distraught and broken lens of the man and the followers behind Scientology. For how dense it can seem the film is wonderfully fluid and light-its-feet.
When moving through PTA's career, it is this late stage stuff that captivates and astounds me. I think this film is great.