Steve B.’s review published on Letterboxd:
The Master is not as, dare I say, accessible as There Will Be Blood but it is obviously by the same director at a point where one follows the other. I'm not sure if I yet understand P.T. Anderson's script and intent, but I want to, after studying more reviews and re-watching this again sometime. This is one of those movies that you can't stop thinking about.
The plot has at least two threads woven into one as the two central characters cross paths and influence each other. There is the drifting former soldier with post traumatic stress disorder (Joaquin Phoenix), and the philosopher-author dubbed "Master" by his cultish followers (Phillip Seymour Hoffman). This combination of characters and storyline intentions might be a problem of the script in my mind, or it may be a great strength - I'm still thinking about that.
My greatest joys in watching The Master were the two central performances of Phoenix and Hoffman, and the score by Jonny Greenwood, brought back after his work in Anderson's previous film. Phoenix and Hoffman are perfectly cast and play eloquently off one another. Greenwood takes it down a notch in volume but not in effect after his more discernible There Will Be Blood score.
Interestingly, this is P.T. Anderson's first film in which Robert Elswit was not his cinematographer. He was working on the The Bourne Legacy and was not available. Instead, he employed Mihai Mălaimare, Jr., an unknown to me, who's work was every bit as beautiful under Anderson's oversight.