Martyn Perry’s review published on Letterboxd:
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix and Paul Thomas Anderson are one hell of a combination and sadly one which won't be able to combine again. However, we've got this film as a lasting legacy to PSH's talents in particular and it's a belter.
Starting pretty slowly, it's clear that this film is all about character and performance and the ever reliable Phoenix (nearly typecast nowadays) is an engrossing character, a WW2 Naval Marine with his fair share of post traumatic shock, alcoholism, nymphomania and anger management issues. A seemingly uncontrollable tour de force that doesn't have a path in life when the war ends, until he hitches a ride on (L. Ron Hubbard wannabe) PSH's The Master's boat.
In the movie's best shot, one long tracking shot which follows Phoenix as he ambles along the dockside, shifting focus between him walking along and PSH partying on a moored boat, the film really starts to engage. Shortly after we see these two powerful characters collide for the first time and the relationship between The Master and the unpredictable Phoenix is the driving force for the entire movie. This film also boasts a decent supporting cast, with Amy Adams, Laura Dern and Rami Malek all contributing with strong performances.
Recommended?: Entertaining, well acted and with an engaging story, this is worthy of the accolades that it has received. It's not a fast moving story, nor is it one which is explicit in its message, but if you give the story chance to be told, you'll enjoy this film a lot.