Two months after its Venice Film Festival premiere, Paul Schrader’s “Master Gardener” has finally been acquired for distribution. Magnolia Pictures has picked up the crime thriller, and is set to give it a U.S. theatrical release next year.
“Magnolia has been a class act for over 20 years, and I eagerly anticipate and appreciate their distribution of ‘Master Gardener,’” Schrader said in a statement.
Written and directed by Schrader, “Master Gardener” stars Joel Edgerton as Narvel Roth, a brilliant horticulturist working at the beautiful Gracewoods Gardens estate. Devoted to his work, Roth is forced by his employer, wealthy dowager Mrs. Haverhill (Sigourney Weaver), to take on her troubled great-niece Maya (Quintessa Swindell) as his apprentice, and the two slowly form a close bond. However, Roth’s dark past and many sins threaten to catch up with him and destroy the peaceful existence he has worked to maintain.
The film is billed as the last in a trilogy of films from Schrader that began with 2017’s “First Reformed” and last year’s “The Card Counter.” All three movies focus on men with troubled pasts living solitary lives, struggling to do the right thing in a corrupt world. Like “First Reformed” and “The Card Counter,” “Master Gardener” received largely positive reviews during its October Venice premiere, as well as its screening at the New York Film Festival. In her review for IndieWire, film critic Leila Latif wrote that “while the central character’s arc will likely launch a dreaded ‘discourse,’ there is a tenderness to ‘Master Gardener’ that may prove its biggest surprise.”
“Horticulture has never seemed so fraught with mystery and peril as in ‘Master Gardener,’” Magnolia Pictures president Eamonn Bowles said in a statement. “Paul Schrader, ably abetted by his remarkable cast, finds fertile soil for exploring his fascinatingly complex themes in this truly exceptional thriller.”
“Master Gardener” is produced by Schrader’s manager David Gonzales, Amanda Crittenden, and Scott LaStaiti. Ottocento’s Luisa Law, Flickstar’s Jamieson McClurg and KOJO Studios’ Dale Roberts and Linda Ujuk serve as executive producers on the film. The distribution deal was handled by Magnolia EVP Dori Begley, Magnolia SVP of Acquisitions John Von Thaden, with Northern Lights’ David Gonzales and HanWay Films’ Gabrielle Stewart representing the filmmakers.
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