Ryan James Quinn’s review published on Letterboxd:
This is a movie that I was not prepared for when I saw it in the theater. My wife and I saw it in 70mm projection, and then went out to eat afterwards. The visuals were stunning, the content was a little mixed up. There was so much in this film - we talked about its content and themes for a few hours. But we couldn't pin down what the overall movie was saying.
Later I read reviews of the film, some of which praised The Master for asking so many questions and answering none - leaving it to the viewer to explore for them. One critic actually said that they "didn't get it" but they didn't care - and gave it high praise. Not long before this film was released, Prometheus was getting lambasted in certain circles for posing too many ideas and questions - but answering none.
How can two big event movies do the same thing, yet get such a varied reaction. Was Scott and Lindelof getting a fair chance? Or was Anderson getting a pass because his movie was made under the art house umbrella?
This hypocricy turned me off to the film - and if asked before all of the recent reviews for this have been popping up on this site if it was good, I would have had a mixed response. But whether I think something is good or not is inconsequential, and whether it is "good" can not be judged when the film caused hours and hours of conversation and inspection on my part.
This viewing, on blu-ray, I sat again in awe of the visuals. This is quite possibly the most beautiful looking film made. Looking around the screen, I admired the amount of different colors that lived and breathed in a single frame. Nearly every frame is worthy of hanging as a piece of art.
And that is The Master. A mosaic. It has many brushstrokes, and variety of color on display it is varied in it's content.
This is a movie about the impacts of war on the psyche, pride, fame, alcoholism, religion, experimental methods of treatment, memory, impotence, regret, and having power over other people. This is not a movie about Scientology, just as Boogie Nights is not a movie about porn. "Scientology" and porn are the backdrops in those films.
I will watch this again and again in my life, and each time dive into the various themes I just mentioned. For now I allowed the whole film to wash over me, like the deep blue waters that Freddie recalls - washing away the past, signaling serenity.