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- cannonclubonlin...Oct 29, 2009by
Fiennes and Weisz Create A Brilliant Work of Art Here
Justin Quayle (Ralph Fiennes) is an British diplomat who is sent to the Kenyan Embassy to work. Justin falls in love with impulsive Tessa (Rachel Weisz) because he compares her to a wild flower that he loves in his garden. Tessa follows her husband to Kenya because of her interests in his work and to keep an eye on him. Justin has many loves, one being his gardening skill. Tessa is a tenacious activist that fights for the rights of the poor people and helps Dr. Arnold Bluhm perform his tasks.
Tessa finds out accidentally that a powerful pharmacist firm (3 Bees) is testing a new drug amongst the African people. Tessa is more involved in the matter and she decides to ask Sandy, Justin's friend, for help because she doesn't want to involve to her husband.
In a remote area of Northern Kenya, activist Tessa is found brutally murdered. Tessa's companion, a doctor, appears to have fled the scene, and the evidence points to a crime of passion. In various flashbacks throughout, we see Justin and Tessa meet, marry, and fall in love. We follow Tessa through the bustling streets and clinics of Nairobi, usually accompanying Arnold Bluhm, a Black doctor with whom she spent the night with before her murder.
The authorities try to accuse Dr. Bluhm of the crime. Members of the British High Commission in Nairobi assume that Tessa's widower, their mild-mannered and unambitious colleague Justin Quayle, will leave the matter to them. Little do they know, Quayle is not going to let this go. Jarred by rumors of his late wife's infidelities, Quayle surprises everyone by embarking on a personal odyssey that will take him across three continents. Using his privileged access to diplomatic secrets, he will risk his own life. Haunted by remorse Justin is driven to find the utter truth which happens to be a conspiracy more far-reaching and deadly than Quayle could ever have imagined.
In his own investigation, Justin must not falter in his quest as he faces his memories, his colleagues, local police, hired thugs, and a corrupt corporate CEO. He discovers a powerful mystery involving the members of the British High Commission and the not-so-savory business practices of the multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical industry. In the process of learning the secrets of his powerful enemies, Justin must learn all of his wife's many secrets as well.
The film is very complex and requires you to pay attention closely. You may want to watch this film only when you have no distractions. The cinematography is superb and the use of toning helps juxtapose the African atmosphere with that of England and Europe. Africa is used with bright orange tones will England and Europe clips are very grey.
I'll give this film a 4/5 for it's heavy message and moral dilemmas.
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- laurapierce89Nov 28, 2008by
conspiracy thriller in designer sunglasses
A sort of hypnotism occurs as you watch The Constant Gardener. It’s a symphony of cinematographic accomplishment and flawless editing. While the plot is regrettably predictable, Director Fernando Meirelles (City of God) still presents a beautiful, emotional film.
Based on John le Carré’s novel, it’s a love story between an awkward, sort of clueless British diplomat, absorbed in his botany, Justin (Ralph Fiennes), and Tessa (Rachel Weisz), a feisty, passionate young twenty-something, who fears nothing and no one and is out on the front lines for the battle of humanity versus the corporate world.
The story centers around this sort of epic struggle for a widowed man to put the pieces of his wife’s life together after she is killed in Loki, Kenya. As he discovers the secrets of his wife’s world he comes to understand her passion. He discovers just how deeply she cared about things, including him, and there is a sudden, yet unseen spark in his eyes, mirroring that of his dead wife.
Fiennes does a remarkable job in the subtleties of his character: the lip quiver upon hearing news of the “accident”, a brief lapse of control on the pitch of his voice upon seeing her dead body, and a fidgety confrontation with his late wife’s friend about a relationship with a certain male co-worker.
While the transformation is admirable, it seems questionable. This almost emotionless, stone-faced man was hardly motivated to confront his wife about a looming implication of extra-marital activity while she was living.
The problem lies not in his performance, but in Jeffrey Caine’s screenplay. It just seems unlikely that a man would turn his head away from corruption for however many years only to stumble upon it after his wife’s death and change his ways. Noble? Undoubtedly. It is hard to picture, however, a man as passive as Justin to travel under a false name or confront a doctor about his shady history.
The passionate late wife, on the other hand, is a character almost too confrontational and selfless to believe. While Weisz’s performance is almost flawless -- the passion and the soul of Tessa woven into every gesture, outburst and loving stare -- the composition of the character itself is, again, flawed.
In the hospital bed on the day of losing her child, she seems to have more grief for the dying teenager in the other room than she does for her own tragedy. While perhaps the 130 minute movie simply couldn’t spare the minutes for the still-birth, it’s hard as an audience member to not wish to have seen this incredibly strong woman a little broken, a little more multi-dimensional.
The story, despite its flaws, is set up in the perfect sequence to create interest, so at least chronologically it isn’t completely conventional. Flashbacks make up almost every other scene in the movie, and the story seems to spiral into its ending. The mystery of the movie can be owed almost entirely to the editors and cinematographer because the plot, dishearteningly, fits almost too nicely into the thriller genre: an ordinary man in an exotic setting is inadvertently drawn into a perilous situation, uncovering corruption and his yet un-harnessed inner strength.
Visually, the movie is a gem. The story is a puzzle and the audience is given the pieces both as Tessa lives them and as Justin happens upon them. The cinematographer, Cesar Charlone, plays with mystery in his shots, concealing faces, obstructing views and relying heavily on shadow. In one scene, a man, wRead full review
- elleseven1Oct 07, 2006by
Great Book Equals Great Film
The Constant Gardener is a movie based upon the novel written by a leading author of the suspense/espionage genre, John LeCarr. The main character is Justin Quayle, intensely portrayed by the fine actor, Ralph Fiennes (The English Patient). He's a British diplomat living in South Africa with his beautiful wife, Tessa. Tessa, the beloved and outspoken advocate of the rights of South Africa's pooor, exposes a scheme by a leading pharmaceutical company, and the end results are disastrous. Those involved in the turn of events are who you would least expect. Under these circumstances, it's difficult to determine who is a friend, and who is a foe. Justen, our hero is determined unearth the dangerous mysteries that sent his wife to the grave, and that threaten his own life as well.
To say more would reveal too much, and there's nothing I hate more than a spoiler!
Often I've been disappointed after reading a novel, and viewing the film version. Sometimes, for the sake of time and creative license, the movie lacks significant details that brought the novel and characters to life. If you enjoy fast paced action, mystery and intrigue, you will definitely enjoy this movie. As an extra bonus, nothing can top the beautiful cinematography - ranging from the grim realities of the impoverished shanty towns, to the soaring beauty of the African plains.Read full review
- one-stick-ponyJun 21, 2008by
The Constant Gardener
The edited version provided an intense, gripping story without the unnecessary foul language or sex scenes. Although, not a "true" story it presented quite accurately the unjust treatment of poor, disadvantaged people by the powerful and greedy people of this world. It was distressing to watch. However, it makes me more determined to help the 'poor' and wait on God to eliminate the selfish, money hungry corporations (wicked people) and provide lasting relief to survivors.
- adopt_a_petSep 23, 2008by
Although the heavy British accent in certain dialogue was difficult to grasp, this was a very worthwhile movie. Thought-provoking, authentic locations, good acting all make this a movie worth your time.