Film review: Master Gardener

Auteurs are defined as filmmakers whose ‘individual style and complete control over all elements of production give a film its personal and unique stamp’. Paul Schrader’s films have always dealt in redemption and masculinity but in recent years, he has almost developed his recurring themes into a genre of their own. The final instalment of his thematically linked contemporary trilogy, following on from 2017’s First Reformed and 2021’s The Card Counter, is psychological indie thriller Master Gardener. The story centres around Narvel Roth (Joel Edgerton), a horticulturist who works for wealthy widow Mrs Haverhill (Sigourney Weaver) by tending to her picture-esque Louisiana estate. When her troubled great-niece Maya (Quintessa Swindell) comes to stay and becomes Narvel’s apprentice, he is forced to reckon with his own dark, dangerous past.

Continue reading “Film review: Master Gardener”
DVD & Digital

DVD review: The Card Counter

Writer and director Paul Schrader has explored masculinity and redemption throughout his career, going way back to when he penned the script for Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver in the 1970s. Revisiting these motifs once again, his latest crime drama The Card Counter treads the complex path of William Tell (Oscar Isaac), a mysterious ex-con who turns to betting after a stretch in prison. On his travels, he takes troubled youngster Cirk (Tye Sheridan) under his wing and when presented with a lucrative opportunity by new friend La Linda (Tiffany Haddish), he embarks on a poker-playing mission in an attempt to atone for his sins.

Continue reading “DVD review: The Card Counter”
DVD & Digital

DVD review: First Reformed


Paul Schrader made a name for himself as a film writer in the 70s when he penned the screenplay for Martin Scorsese’s critically acclaimed masterpiece Taxi Driver. Since then, his work has divided audiences and he is very much regarded as a hit-or-miss director. His latest piece is psychological thriller First Reformed, which stars Ethan Hawke as troubled pastor Ernst Toller who serves at a historical church in upstate New York. When expectant mum Mary (Amanda Seyfried) asks him to counsel her environmentalist boyfriend, he begins to question his faith and subsequently suffers an existential crisis.

Continue reading “DVD review: First Reformed”