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The Constant Gardener

3.8 out of 5 stars 369 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Import Blu-Ray/Region A pressing. A diplomat on the hunt for his wife s murderer uncovers a treacherous conspiracy that will destroy millions of innocent people - unless he can reveal its sinister roots. Starring: Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz.

Review

The Constant Gardener is the kind of thriller that hasn't been seen since the 1970s: Smart, politically complex, cinematically adventurous, genuinely thrilling and even heartbreaking. Mild diplomat Justin Quayle (Ralph Fiennes, The English Patient, Schindler's List) has a loose cannon of a wife named Tessa (Rachel Weisz, The Shape of Things, The Mummy), who's digging into the dirty doings of a major pharmaceutical company in Kenya. Her brutal murder forces Justin to continue her investigation down some deadly avenues. This simple plot description doesn't capture the rich texture and slippery, sinuous movement of The Constant Gardener, superbly directed by Fernando Meirelles (Oscar-nominated for his first film, City of God). Shifting back and forth in time, the movie skillfully captures the engaging romance between Justin and Tessa (Fiennes shows considerably more chemistry with Weisz than he had with Jennifer Lopez in Maid in Manhattan) and builds a vivid, gripping, and all-too-justified paranoia. And on top of it all, the movie is beautiful, due to both its incredible shots of the African landscape (which at times is haunting and unearthly) and the gorgeous cinematography. Featuring an all-around excellent cast, including Bill Nighy (Love Actually), Pete Postlethwaite (In the Name of the Father), and Danny Huston (Silver City). --Bret Fetzer The Constant Gardener is the kind of thriller that hasn't been seen since the 1970s: Smart, politically complex, cinematically adventurous, genuinely thrilling and even heartbreaking. Mild diplomat Justin Quayle (Ralph Fiennes, The English Patient, Schindler's List) has a loose cannon of a wife named Tessa (Rachel Weisz, The Shape of Things, The Mummy), who's digging into the dirty doings of a major pharmaceutical company in Kenya. Her brutal murder forces Justin to continue her investigation down some deadly avenues. This simple plot description doesn't capture the rich texture and slippery, sinuous movement of The Constant Gardener, superbly directed by Fernando Meirelles (Oscar-nominated for his first film, City of God). Shifting back and forth in time, the movie skillfully captures the engaging romance between Justin and Tessa (Fiennes shows considerably more chemistry with Weisz than he had with Jennifer Lopez in Maid in Manhattan) and builds a vivid, gripping, and all-too-justified paranoia. And on top of it all, the movie is beautiful, due to both its incredible shots of the African landscape (which at times is haunting and unearthly) and the gorgeous cinematography. Featuring an all-around excellent cast, including Bill Nighy (Love Actually), Pete Postlethwaite (In the Name of the Father), and Danny Huston (Silver City). --Bret Fetzer --Amazon.com

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Ralph Fiennes, Rachel Weisz, Danny Huston
  • Format: Blu-ray
  • Language: English
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: PHANTASM IMPORTS INC.
  • Run Time: 129 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (369 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001LRTT76
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,625 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

"The constant gardener" is an extremely good movie that could have been exceptional but somehow doesn't reach that point. All the same, I think it is the kind of film you will appreciate, specially if you enjoy a good thriller, great actors, and the opportunity to watch the beautiful African scenery.

The plot is based on a novel by John Le Carre, who said that "The constant gardener" is an excellent adaptation of his book of the same name, even though it is quite different from it. In my opinion, the director, Fernando Meirelles, should be recognized for doing an excellent job in what ended up being an outstanding (and thouroughly non-linear) film. Even though I didn't like this movie as much as I loved Meirelles' previous film, "City of God", it easy to see that he retains his gift for surprising the spectator, and treating him with scenes of astonishing beauty.

The plot is, in general, the same of the book. Justin Quayle (Ralph Fiennes), the main character, is an extremely polite English diplomat working in the British Embassy in Kenya. He who has only two passions in his life: gardening and his wife Tessa (Rachel Weisz). Tessa isn't overly conventional, and can be downright rude when she is defending one of her many causes, while Justin is taking care of his garden. Despite their differences, they complement each other. Justin, oblivious to the reality that surrounds him in Kenya, grounds himself in Tessa, and can't imagine his life without her.

Unfortunately, when some hired guns kill Tessa, Justin will have to learn if he will be able to live in a world without Tessa. His more immediate concern, however, is why was she killed.
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Based on a novel by John Le Carre, this brand new film starring Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz just opened in theaters.

Fiennes is cast as a rather conventional British diplomat who falls in love with the fiery Rachel Weisz. In the first few minutes of the film they meet, mate, marry and go off to Africa where Fiennes is stationed.

He'd rather tend his garden and keep a blind eye to the truths around him. She adopts the humanitarian causes of the people and sometimes embarrasses Fiennes by telling off the stuffed shirt diplomats in his circle. He adores her though and their relationship is hot even though it seems as she and an African doctor are having an affair.

Everything is shattered when the African doctor and Rachel Weisz are brutally murdered. That's when mild-mannered Fiennes gets involved in the investigation. What he discovers is corruption at the highest level, involving big pharmaceutical companies who are using the Africans as guinea pigs to test new drugs. Fiennes' investigation leads to more and more discoveries. Eventually, his own life is in danger.

The acting is excellent and so is the cinematography. It really seemed to be the real Africa although the country remained unnamed. I do question the title because there was little about gardening in the film with the exception that it seemed that Fiennes would rather tend his garden than get involved in the horrible politics around him. Then, of course, he couldn't stop himself.

I enjoyed the film and especially like the fact that it addressed some real issues in the world today. It almost didn't matter that the details of the plot were a little confusing at times. I wish it grabbed my emotions more though. I know it was supposed to as it deals with the dire results of human greed and corruption.
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Justin Quayle, middle-level English bureaucrat (Ralph Fiennes, the perfect Le Carre' protagonist, circa 2005) is palpably appreciative when Tessa (Rachel Weisz, radiant, earth-motherly) deems to, really anoints him with, at the beginning of Fernando Meirelles' "The Constant Gardener," a hot session in bed. In fact, Quayle goes so far as to thank Tessa; which says more about Quayle's commitment to his Freesias, his backyard garden and his avoidance of really living than it does about Tessa's prowess in bed.
But that being said, the friction between the stiff-upper lip Quayle and the free-thinking, socially liberal and aware Tessa forms the backbone of Meirelles and Le Carre's outstanding film. Feinnes and Weisz's vibrant and provocative performances give this film a moral and intellectual as well as a human-level sensual and sexual center that binds the worlds of international diplomacy and social consciousness in a way that makes this film not only chock full of real-life ambiguity but also current and thought-provoking as well.
But then Justin is transferred to Africa and Tessa pleads with him to take her. And it is at this point that the movie changes tone from one of romance, lust and personal fulfillment to one of subterfuge on several levels: personal, governmental and that involving major drug companies using the medicine starved Africans as guinea pigs for their experimental drugs: many times to disastrous results.
Director Fernando Meirelles deserves a place in the pantheon of directors based solely on his revolutionary and disturbing "City of God" and here he boldly paints his canvas in broad strokes of saturated, gorgeous Technicolor for the scenes in Africa and solemn, dreary gray for the scenes in England and Europe: a little obvious maybe but effective nonetheless.
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