Ali Thompson’s review published on Letterboxd:
Technically it is extraordinary. It looks exquisite and breathtaking. I found myself just staring in awe at some of the scenes. The era is captured perfectly, I didn't doubt for a second that this wasn't 1950. You can tell that every shot, scene, frame has had a lot of thought put into it and it pays off to no end.
Joaquin Phoenix is such a committed actor. To physically change your appearance to quite great extremes shows true dedication to the job and the result is simply astounding. Philip Seymour Hoffman came across 100% natural and convincing. I can imagine Paul Thomas Anderson telling him he's going to play the leader of a religious movement who practices unorthodox methods on people and Hoffman simply replying, "Piece of piss."
I think it's the story that has made this film so strange to me. There was no forward motion, it wasn't going anywhere for me. It all felt very ambiguous. Was it the makings of a cult? Was it genuine? That is what let it down for me. If the story was a little more in your face and spelled out it would probably get the fifth star.
The Master certainly makes you think and that alone is commendable.