MASTER GARDENER (2023)
Release Date: 05/19/23 [Cinemas]
Genre: Drama. Thriller.
Studio: Magnolia Pictures.
"A meticulous horticulturist who is devoted to tending the grounds of a beautiful estate and pandering to his employer, the wealthy dowager."
OUR MOVIE REVIEW:
Paul Schrader's Master Gardener make no mistake is excellent and another great directorial offering from the writer-director. It's also very typical Schrader, which depending on how much you connect with, or enjoy his films can be a good or bad thing. Master Gardener treads familiar territory as another rough-around-the-edges male character-driven story with more brains than brawn.
Joel Edgerton in the lead role as Narvel Roth, a devoted horticulturist who intensely writes about gardening and its history in his journal as if he's repenting his sins, sports a slick haircut, and takes care of the gardens of a prestigious estate run by Gloria Haverhill played by Sigourney Weaver. When Gloria brings her great niece Maya played by Quintessa Swindell on for a job, she tells Narvel to take Maya under his wing. The cast are all excellent in their roles with Edgerton delivering another emotionally layered performance. Sigourney Weaver is fantastic with the subdued manner she plays the crass, wealthy, lonely, and not completely heartless Gloria Haverhill. As great as the acting involved is it of course is helped by the sharp writing by Schrader, the intense but beautiful score by Devonté Hynes, and the enriching cinematography by Alexander Dynan. Dynan, who also shot Schrader's last two films The Card Counter, and First Reformed, makes Master Gardener the third film in something of a thematic trilogy by the two. The masculine male with a mysterious history that has to be reckoned with is the common thread.
Much like the patience and meticulous nature involved in the film's subject matter, Schrader's writing and directing patiently unearth its story right before you and draw you in. Just as well as regardless of whether you have an interest in how to tend to plant life, Narvels journal narration about it will make you interested. The script's rich writing shines in these moments as well as the character and story moments. Schrader's latest film providing both writing and directing duties is a thought-provoking and tense offering with depth to its narrative and its characters that by the end of the film running time will show you what care and meticulous attention paid to important elements can grow into something special and beautiful.