Master Gardener - Official Trailer | Directed by Paul Schrader | Joel Edgerton, Sigourney Weaver

Schrader is well known for his preference for austere filmmaking and Master Gardener is no different. He frames his actors with no frills in mostly medium shots that allow them the space to inhabit the characters. As he did in The Card Counter he allows one fantastical scene where the screen becomes flooded with color and the characters’ emotions overflow. That flourish only emphasizes the modesty of the rest of the film. A modesty that’s appropriate for Narvel Roth and his unadorned world.


Coming as the third entry in Schrader’s trilogy, Master Gardener fuels talk of diminishing returns. The film comes from the same filmmaker and has common links to its predecessors—no matter how skeleton—in character and structure. And so it must be compared to them. While it doesn’t fare well in comparison, Master Gardener still has enough unique characteristics and performances to stand out as a fine film. It’s just the least successful in this particular trilogy.

Master Gardener opens in theaters May 19