Review: Seeds of hope blossom in ‘Master Gardener’

Katie Walsh Tribune News Service (TNS)

With his latest film, “Master Gardener,” writer/director Paul Schrader closes out an epic trilogy exploring modern masculinity and existential dread. Written with Schrader’s prickly, challenging point of view, and crafted with arch expertise, the “man in a room” trilogy, made up of “First Reformed,” “The Card Counter” and now “Master Gardener,” is unflinchingly bleak and often angry. But in his finale, the auteur reveals himself to be a deeply swooning romantic underneath all the violent stoicism of his protagonists, allowing his hope for redemption to fully bloom.


*** ½

MPA rating: R (for language, brief sexual content and nudity)

Running time: 1:47

How to watch: Opens at the Roxy on Friday

In 2017’s “First Reformed,” a severe portrait of a pastor struggling with his faith and counseling a young couple through their anxiety about climate change, Schrader looked to the future with dread. Then 2021’s “The Card Counter” saw Schrader analyzing the inescapable sins of the past in the story of a gambler traveling from casino to casino in an attempt to escape the memory of his war crimes. In “Master Gardener,” Schrader once again imagines the life of a man with a violent history

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