The Constant Gardener (Widescreen Edition)
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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.Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This movie absolutely broke my heart. This isn't one to watch if you just want to be entertained or are hoping for a romantic or suspense plot. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Sophie F.
John Le Carré was widely criticized for the book that this film is based on. However, the critics didn't get it. Read morePublished 1 month ago by J. Jeffrey Donahue
I'm big fans of the stars in this film but somehow the story didn't have much suspense and just never grabbed me like I hoped.Published 2 months ago by P. Grealy
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