The Constant Gardener
—Oh, No he
by The Blonde and The Maven
Fernando Meirelles is not a director whose name
is familiar, but IT WILL BE! Meirelles is Brazilian and
his first American film was City of God. He and
cinematographer Cesar Charlone were both nominated for
Oscars for that film. This romantic thriller, The
Constant Gardener, was a novel by John Le Carré (The Spy
Who Came in From the Cold and Tailor of Panama, to name
a few), who said his novel was tame compared to this
film. The screenplay is written by Jeffrey Caine.
Like the novel, the film opens with the
brutal murder of Tessa Quayle, a passionate and
dedicated activist, played by British actress Rachel
Weisz (Constantine and Sunshine). Members of the British
Commission assume that Tessa's widower, Justin,
brilliantly portrayed by Ralph Fiennes (Maid in
Manhattan and Sunshine), will leave the matter to their
discretion. After all, Justin is a career diplomat and
he would never want to make waves. However, (isn't there
always a however in Hollywood?) that is just what he
ends up doing. Between flashbacks of their relationship,
we get to see what made these vastly different people so
attracted to each other. It is this strong connection
that gives Justin the impetus to find out what Tessa's
activism was all about. His research reveals a global
conspiracy that has already taken many lives and puts
his own life at risk as well.
this marvelous cast is Danny Huston (The Aviator and 21
Grams), playing Sandy Woodrow, the British High
Commissioner. Danny, by the way, is the son of director
John Huston. Pete Postlethwaite (try to say that name
ten times quickly) (In the Name of the Father and Aliens
3) plays Lorbeer, a drug company man, working in the
field, and Bill Nighy (Love Actually and Shaun of the
Dead) is Sir Bernard Pellegrin, the head of the Foreign
Office, as well as Justin and Sandy's boss.
The story moves from present to past quite
often but it is easy to follow. Just hang on to your
seat for a great ride!
and The Maven: First, we would like to extend our love,
support and prayers to each and every one of the
hurricane victims! In addition, we ask that all the
Entertainment News & Views readers who enjoy our
reviews to help out in any way possible; be it money,
time, or necessary items of aid. WE THANK YOU FOR
Blonde: Okay, let's dish. The Constant Gardener was like
Dragonfly meets Beyond Borders, meets Enron meets Hotel
Rwanda, meets Out of Africa meets The Way We Were meets
Angelina Jolie. My favorite part of this film was the
nap I took a third of the way through it and, yet,
missed nothing. It is kind of like the same premise as a
soap opera, where you can miss a few years and pick up
on the same scene where one character is still cheating
on the other while lying about who the real father of
the baby is! That said, The Constant Gardener wasn't a
bad film, but not one I could nap through again.
Maven: Even though the story is told in a fragmented
style, it wasn't hard to follow. It actually allows the
conspiracy to unfold to reveal how cruel it really is.
The question that keeps popping up for me is, do drug
companies really do this? There is a lot of anger in
this film and I felt it constantly (not a pun). What I
loved was how the truth of Tessa's work was realized by
Justin and he came to understand her so much more. Each
new truth brought her more into focus for him and us.
Fiennes is a genius actor in that you hate his
complacency, but when he finally understands his wife's
activism, he too has a fire lit in him.
Blonde: I agree with the Mav. It's funny, I hated
Fiennes so much in Schindler's List, but in spite of his
horrible character, his talents did shine through. Since
that role, he has become one of my favorite actors.
Fiennes is considered one of the great actors in
Hollywood and he proves it once again in this film. The
Constant Gardener is quite misleading, therefore most
people who love gardening will be quite disappointed.
This movie is neither about gardening nor constant
gardening. I think watching the new Martha Stewart show
in September might help you out with some good gardening
tips! Why don't filmmakers give names to their films
that are more in keeping with the topic of the film?
Mav, how about giving our readers some gardening tips of
your VERY OWN, so this film won't disappoint them so
Blonde: WHY? You are so good with your hands and have a
wonderful green thumb!
Maven: No, I won't be so flippant with such a terrific
film. HOWEVER, don't throw away your house plants that
are dying. Simply plant them in your back yard as I did
mine. You will be surprised to find that soon you will
have an abundantly overgrowing beautiful wild garden and
even some that grow into a formal bush!
Blonde: SPEAKING OF BUSH, how do you feel about how our
President, government and administration handled the
devastating, catastrophic hurricane; how long they took
to respond, how the absurd delay caused more deaths,
pain, and anguish? Shall I go on?
Maven: I am so overwhelmed that I can't address this
subject in just a few words. HOWEVER, I love what Hugo
Chavez, leader of Venezuela said of Bush. He called him
the “King of Vacations.” He found it incredible that the
U.S. “had no evacuation plan… the first power in the
world that is so involved in Iraq… left its own
population adrift.” That says it all, and for me too!
Blonde: I am embarrassed, ashamed, and livid! It is the
American people who seem to care more than our own
government. I think since the WHOLE WORLD has taken
notice and is now CAREFULLY watching, maybe our
government will DO THE RIGHT THING!
Maven: IS THAT STEAM I SEE COMING OUT OF YOUR EARS?
HOWEVER, I think we're getting off the movie track!
Blonde: OH NO…YOU HAVE ALREADY HAD THREE HOWEVERS, AND
THAT IS YOUR HOWEVER QUOTA! Although I adore Ralph
Fiennes and think Rachel is exquisite, where was the
chemistry? I didn't feel the passion or romance between
them. I did feel ACTING, though, AND GREAT ACTING AT
THAT! BUT NO REAL PASSION! Speaking of passion, Barbara
is coming out with a new CD where she sings once again
with Barry Gibb. YEAH!
Maven: The chemistry that you seem to have missed took
place most likely while you were napping. I can't
believe you missed it. Nudity and sex and everything!
Blonde: LIAR, LIAR! If there were, you would have
totally woken me up! Wouldn’t you have?
Maven: I would have, but it all happened so fast and I
didn’t want to miss any of it.
Blonde: LIAR… LIAR…
Maven: I think the director and the cinematographer were
brilliant together. The scenes, never just say, look at
the actors. They instead focus on the tragedy of
epidemic disease and corruption. I loved the bumpy,
close-up hand held camera work. It made the alien world
of poverty in Kenya more personal.
Blonde: It also made you feel apart of the story. Now
they, (the director and cinematographer) DID HAVE
Maven: This film is smart, serious and, above all, about
something that MATTERS! It also has the smell of Oscar
nomination on it. If you love build-up-to-the-truth,
terrific acting and directing, as well as thought
provoking, this film is for you. I rate it an “A” for an
abundantly well-fertilized story and Academy
Blonde: I suppose the best thing about the film was that
they included an ending so I didn't have to write one
for myself on the way home. It does make you think,
HOWEVER, about the reality of its topic. Are companies
really that corrupt? If so, will they really go this far
to hurt humans in their attempts to get answers? If yes,
how do they sleep at night? I guess the same way our
government officials slept this week on their vacations
while the hurricane victims were suffering! This film
was marvelous. I think the devastations of this week
distracted me and keep me from giving it the “A” the
Maven rated it. I rate The Constant Gardener a
“B.” For your movie snacks, go ahead and have some
yummy popcorn, and some plain M&M's that could look
like pills to go with the theme of the film. NOW, GO
CALL AND CONTIBUTE SOME MORE MONEY TO AID THE HURRICANE
VICTIMS! SEE YOU AT THE MOVIES!
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