In a remote area of Northern Kenya, activist Tessa Quayle is found brutally murdered. Tessas companion, a doctor, appears to have fled the scene, and the evidence points to a crime of passion. Members of the British High Commission in Nairobi assume that Tessas widower, their mild-mannered and unambitious colleague Justin Quayle, will leave the matter to them. They could not be more wrong. Haunted by remorse and jarred by rumors of his late wifes 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, stopping at nothing to uncover and expose the truth - a conspiracy more far-reaching and deadly than Quayle could ever have imagined.
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If you enjoy misery and ugliness, this is for you. Dark, awkward, profane...it made my stomach turn. At one point, I got up and walked around the lobby. I would have left but for my friend who actually liked this miserable story. Takes all kinds.
I have just seen The Constant Gardener, and I must say, it was one ofthe most brilliant films I have ever seen. Part-thriller, part romance,it is about Justin, a Kenyan based English diplomat (Ralph Fiennes)whose headstrong activist wife (Rachel Weisz) uncovers a scandal soshocking it puts her life and the lives of the people she loves injeopardy. When a tragic turn of events claims her life, Justin findshimself changing from a detached observer to a fierce whistleblower.What follows is a deeply emotional personal journey for Justin, as hedigs around to uncover the scandal that multinational pharmaceuticalcompanies and the British government have conspired together, and spiltblood over, to keep secret. With danger facing him at every turn,Justin races against the clock to uncover the truth, not only aboutdrugs companies but also about whether his marriage with his late wifewas one of convenience. Did she really love him or was it all a sham?Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz give extraordinary performances.Fiennes' subtlety and restraint was impressive. He beautifullyinhabited the body and soul of a diplomat spurred to action by not onlyby grief, but by his realisation of the corruption surrounding him; thecorruption claiming lives and stripping a people of their dignity.Weisz was equally convincing as the headstrong and fearless Tessa,willing to stand up for what she believed in, regardless of the cost.The cinematography was exquisite, depicting the extremes of the Africanlandscape - at times rugged and brutal and other times, tranquil andcalm - as well as the urban world of offices and crowded streets. Theway the story unfolded - in flashbacks, told through Justin's eyes -heightened the suspense considerably.One of my favourite scenes in the part where Tessa wants to give amother, her baby and son a lift to a city 40km away. Justin commentsthat they can't help everyone, and Tessa says, "But we can help thesethree". I think that captures the spirit of The Constant Gardener. Thefilm is an eloquent plea for individuals to stand up, open their eyesand start making a difference to the world around them.
This movie is listed as a romance and thriller but for me these were the 2 most disappointing angles of the film. Rachel Weisz is not all that attractive to begin with, but add a huge fake pregnant baby gutt and you really have nothing that you want to see naked! She won some kind of award for this, right?!However, I did think the story was interesting and well-developed albeit not very exciting and certainly not a "thriller." It was pretty clear where they were headed with this film before the mid-point of the movie, and in the end it didn't matter who pulled the trigger - the "villains" were really the big faceless drug corporations and people in power standing to make a profit from them. *yawn* Haven't we seen this story before?The visuals I found a bit disappointing because the movie was filmed in Africa so I was expecting some fantastic cinematography - it was okay, but I have seen better from older films. If there is one thing a newer big budget film should be able to do, it is improve on an older version of a simlilar story!But overall, despite the flaws I still thought it was a pretty good movie. I would have rather watched it on DVD, it isn't really worthy of the theatre experience, though.
I found this movie both promising and disappointing.I regard all the comments about the excellent performances by Weisz andFiennes ... and indeed the entire cast ... as being entirely accurate.The cinematography was excellent, the scenery intriguing.What overwhelmed all these fine features for me was the ConspiracyMotif blending with the human interest & drama features in what was forme a very unworkable mix.I'm not against Conspiracy movies as such. The Manchurian Candidate andany number of action movies make wonderful and exemplary films in thisgenre. A really tight, action-filled thriller like some of Le Carre'sother film adaptations would have worked perfectly well here.But this is a movie that on the one hand is slow and wistful and slylyintriguing in the way a good human drama story can be; and yet thatstory is simply overwhelmed by the Conspiracy ... and without fasterpace and action really spoils the latter for me. Sort of like the worstof the Oliver Stone movies.In general, then, I say thumbs down. But if you go, you'll find theacting wonderful and the scenes wonderful and if you can ignore theplot, perhaps worth a few hours of your time.
If you haven't woken up to the sufferings and trails of the people invarious regions of Africa, then watch this movie. I don't think thismovie is a true story; however I do feel that various nations areresponsible for the current state there. Yes it is a suspense thriller,and it is different, some might find it boring, but it touched myheart. As I watched this movie, I had tears in my eyes, I kept thinkingof Darfur.Watch this movie if you want to watch a movie that has a strongmessage. Not for people who wants to watch the regular Hollywoodentertainers.
Like LeCarre's books, this is an adult story, full of details. Very little sex or obvious violence, the kids will be bored after 10 min.Remember the excel. BBC productions of Smiley's . . .? well, this is only 2 hr long, so a lot of the detailed set pieces are changed or just left out. I read the book first, so my first view of the Constant Gardener was a disappointment. It seemed better when I watched a second time and just watched as a movie.While reading the book, I looked up places on a map, there is a Lochi, etc. I don't know if the actual places are in the film, but the DVD notes say it was in Kenya, and the African visual appearance is excel.For a film based in Africa, there is very little use of African caracters in the film, it's Euro thru and thru.I'll just mention one plot point that irritates me - Tessa had a disasterous childbirth failure, hardly mentioned at all. As this was an event in the movie /book, wouldn't there be some development of the parents reaction to losing a baby? espec. as Tessa went to a disadvantaged hospital instead of going to Europe for birth ? Mostly left out of movie, She was very rich, I would think there would have been strong reaction.A movie that plants ideas more than instant entertainment, to be forgotten the next day, 3 + stars.
This film, a suspensful, intense love story is based on a book by John Le Care, perhaps the best mystery writer of our time: Tinker Tailor, Soldier Spy, The Spy who came in from the Cold; The Little Drummmer GIrl. etc. etc. He incorporates the use of flashback extensively and so does this film. This love story turned into a detective story when the diplomat's spicey wife is murdered in Africa. Ralph Fiennes who plays the somewhat sheltered diplomat Quayle, performs brilliantly, even better than his role in The English Patient. ( I hope he is nominated for an Academy Award. ) Rachel Weisz who played the romantic lead oposite Jude Law in The Enemy at the Gates gives a dazzling performance. Since there are so many "unknown" good actors in the film (principally from the UK) it makes the experience more real. You have to work to enjoy this film as you sift through the little pieces and subtle inunendos. But it is a masterpiece; a tapestry of inspiration and desperation. Place yourself in Quayle's position. What would YOU do if the love of your life had been murdered, and rumors abounded that she was unfaithful. Life is exceptionally cheap in Africa and "Gardner" is a chilling reminder to us in the West of that fact. The main theme of International Corporations doing horrible things to achieve their goals is nothig new. This movie is about the race to place prescription drugs on the market, but it could just as easily have been about Big Oil, or Big Sugar for that matter. Lord knows there is enough corruption going on in the world nowadays. Yet, if you enjoy mystery, drama, suspense and a love story this film will reward you richly. I may see it again today. P.S. I presume the people who have rated this movie with an "F" don't really go to movies much. I clicked on their vacant profiles and they appear to have registered in Yahoo just to batter this movie.
The Constant Gardener was well worth watching. Lavishly shot in Kenya,the cinematography allows Africa to speak for itself quite eloquently.On a private level, the film deals with the problems of communicationin a marriage, and at a public level touches on the use of Africans ashuman guinea pigs by large drug companies. As Tessa, Rachel Weisz is astrong woman, a passionate advocate of human rights who is unafraid tocreate public scandals in the interest of saving lives. Ralph Fiennesgives a sensitive performance as a cold British diplomat and distanthusband who gradually thaws into a compassionate human being who lovesthe soul of Africa. Interesting contrasts in the use of color by thedirector balance the different worlds in conflict in this film. Coolercolors prevail in the well-ordered life of the British diplomat earlierin the film, where a more brilliant palette of vivid colors later inthe film reflect the beauty and chaos of Africa.
Star Wars was good (thank god, especially after the last two) War ofthe Worlds was overrated and Batman Begins did redeem itself after thelast two crappy Batman films. What we did not have this year was a filmthat grab you and shock you to the core with its issues. A film thathas superb acting and a great visual sense of self. Well, we finallyhave one and it's called the Constant Gardner. Ralph Fiennes and RachelWeisz give the best performances of the year in a story that willdisturb you and scare you at the same time with its issues aboutcorruption, evil and the power of love. Fiennes is great as a mansearching for the reasons why his wife was murdered and discoverstreachery at every corner and Weisz is amazing as his late spouse whoin flash backs tries to fight for the people of a small village who arebeing victimize by a big pharmacy company who does not care about howit's treating the people as lab rats for it's experimental medicines.The story is a compelling look at one man's fight to find the truth andfind his faith again in the person he loved the most in his world andfind a way to redeem himself in her eyes. Fernando Meirelles directsthis movie in such a flawless manor that it often feels real in someaspects and the characters by Weisz and Fiennes will leave a mark onyour heart after the move ends with their grace and their humanity.I was genuine moved by this film and It is with out a doubt, the bestmovie of the year.
Wow. Two hours and 9 minutes of my life wasted. OK, we got it 15minutes into the film - Africa has problems. There is social injusticein the world. Fine. What I was expecting was a "first rate spy game"and "Riveting! A taut and gripping thriller." as the DVD cover stated.What I got was a two hour lecture on social injustices in Africa. Theending is a forgone conclusion 1/2 of the way through. There is in myestimation less than two minutes of any actual action in this movie.Spy game? I must have blinked and missed it.I would have given it a 1 but the scenery shots and Fiennes acting werepretty good.Not worth the rental. Who the heck is rating this movie an 7, as is theIMDb average?!
This review is from: The Constant Gardener (DVD) Received right away. CD was wrapped and new! I was worried it would be a dub of some sort, but it wasn't.
Great movie for it's examination of a serious and very real drug testing issue and also a glimpse into African life. However, as an exciting thriller, the movie falls short. The book does not and I thoroughly enjoyed the suspense that is built up within the book. I felt none of that come out in the movie. To be honest, I have to wonder how people followed the movie without reading the book first. The highlight for me was one of the deleted scenes of the African riding his bike whilst African music is playing. Another deleted scene shows amazing acting by Ralph Fiennes as someone is murdered right in front of him. Stunning scenes and it is a shame they ware deleted. My recommendation, read the book, it is a great read.
I was really looking forward to a suspenseful thriller something thatwill engross me and add a bit of energy in what seemed to be a tiredevening. Well I was wrong this was a long tedious study of anincredibly artificial Ralph Fiennes (I usually think the world of him,not here)...There was 90 percent dialog with the rest of it divided to9% driving and flying around Africa and 1% action. I get the ideabehind the whole thing but it would have better served in a documentaryabout the exploitations of the poor Africans by the big drug companyand not masquerade it behind a "thriller" huh? Did I miss the memo? Irented it on DVD,,,would I have paid for movie tickets i would havebeen livid.
There are few plots as mouth watering for authors - and movie directors- as attacking the seemingly faceless and pitiless cruelty of bigbusiness. Recent examples such as, Enron - The Smartest Guys in theRoom, Syriana and The Constant Gardner give ample testimony to thistrend. This is no bad thing - particularly when handled as deftly as ithas been in The Constant Gardner with the pen of someone as talented asJohn Le Carre. But, alas, I refer only to the book rather that thesilver screen version. What a disappointment then it was to sit throughwhat was, in my opinion, a wooden, characterless and totallyunbelievable performance from Rachael Weisz which effectively torpedoedwhat otherwise could have been a truly memorable movie experience. Thebasic story line as developed by Le Carre is paid due homage but there,sadly, the similarity ends. The development of Tess' character in themovie was left as vacant as the Kenyan plains themselves and sheappeared to drift through the movie as if it were an afternoon walk inthe park. Her performance almost matched that of the truly awful JuliaRoberts in Michael Collins which had most Irish cinema-goers cringingin their seats with ethnic embarrassment. The credibility of the Hamcharacter (played by Richard McCabe) was also found wanting in that henever convinced us as a "hot shot" lawyer who wore his heart on hissleeve. Hats off though to Ralph Fiennes who, as usual, gave anoutstanding performance and in reality saved this movie from anotherwise dismal showing. For Fernando Meirelles this had to be a lowpoint after the wonderful City of God. Hopefully we can expect anupward swing in the curve in the not too distant future
One movie, two distinct plots. The first story is Weisz and Fiennescharacter's love and subsequent marriage. Tessa Qualye is so in lovethat she keeps more secrets than the Pentagon, all from her husband. Ibelieve the love between Tessa and Dr. Joshua Ngaba more than the lovebetween her and her husband. She certainly shares and flirts more withNgaba. The other story is simpler and to me not a shocker - AmericanCorporations are killing poor people in foreign countries to makemoney. This has been going on for so many decades, it is hard for me toperceive it as a revelation. For Corporate America human life hasalways taken a backseat to profit. This has been expounded so manytimes in novels and editorials over the last 200 years, it can hardlybe "shocking news" now. If the stories had been told as separate moviesI think I would have enjoyed them more, but they never seem to cometogether in "Gardener". I felt a little schizophrenic trying to bringtogether the two story lines. Also, what point was there in the husbandkilling himself (by his actions)just to reveal one of his wife's' manysecrets? I think Paul Bowles might have pulled this off, but not thescreenplay based on John le CarrÃ©'s novel. I have read the manypositive reviews, so I am assuming my take on the film is mine alone.
I liked the underlying compassion in this film and its humanity All the annonymous, poor good people in Africa ( or in the world at large) caught between corrupt governments and wars. The film shows what happens when ruthless pharmaceutical corporations expolit also. It was heart-breaking at the end when the the camera films two happy African children joking with a camera whilst being filmed.The point of the film is that simple human trusts and generosity are betrayed - I've read it a couple of times that its about 20% of mankind that ruin it for the rest of us by predatory greed.No need to explain the plot which has been done by those usual reviews writing for the blind.This is a very relevant film for our times which has yet to reign in and constrain ruthless corporate activity and as this film demonstrates-they have far too much money and political influence. The Constant Gardener takes this theme one step further in that indirect deaths become murder; in this instance the whistle-blowing wife of a british diplomat in Africa played by Ralph Fiennes who is well cast for the role and puts in a superb performance. The rest of the characters were well defined and acted.The beauty of this film is the background dimension as it is all shot in Kenya; the African people and the landscape constantly orientate the film in contrast to the embassy world of the white elites going about their buisness. I liked this. aspect of moving back and forth between micro and macrocosm and the wonderful photography particularly from the airplane at the end.
SPOILERS Differences between the West and Africa are hardly news.Whilst the West appears affluent and rich, Africa is forever shown tobe starving and poverty stricken (often corrupt) place. Authors likeJohn Le Carre talk of this in great details and stories appear showingthe evils of capitalism and the cost of human life. Based around thehealth costs of the African people, "The Constant Gardener" is apowerful, albeit heavily biased story. Dominated by an outstandingperformance by Ralph Fiennes, the film is bound to be an Oscarcontender when the award season comes around, although it's probablynot quite good enough to achieve anything other than multiplenominations.When his wife Tessa (Rachel Weisz) is murdered, apparently by her workmate, British Diplomat Justin Quayle (Fiennes) sets out to discover thetruth. Discovering a dark and passionate side to his wife that he neverknew, Justin begins to discover that those he thought he knew are nowsetting out to stop him uncovering the truth.Slow to start, by the time "The Constant Gardener" begins to get going,you find yourself instantly hooked. Wonderfully written and beautifullyshot, it is a magnificent production and it is of little surprise thatit is getting praise from press across the world.Led by a superb Fiennes, the acting across the board is sturdy andoften perfect. One possible exception is a personal dislike for thework provided by Weisz. Whilst this is being touted as Weisz' finestrole to date, she never feels to this reviewer like she ever gets togrips with the roles and definitely her love for Fiennes feelsartificial and sketchy. The film feels superior when Weisz is offscreen, but at the same time, her scenes are integral to the story andthe culminating scenes involving her are pure beauty.Le Carre's book is also incredibly on the biased side. The story mightbe fictitious, but the situation in Africa is very real and byportraying the drugs industry in such negative light, it feels harsh tonot at least offer them some form of defence. Whether there is adefence or not is irrelevant, but we should at least give them thechance to try. If people are going to complain about the bias of thefool Michael Moore, they should also think about films like this.Aside from the biased of the story, which is heavily convincing, it'sworth admitting that the romantic angle of this film is beautiful.Fiennes hunt for the truth about his love's demise is powerful andpoignant stuff and even the hardest soul is likely to shed a tear atsome point or another. It just feels a shame that the story is ruinedby such a heavy biased and another mediocre performance by Weisz.Come February 2006, "The Constant Gardener" is bound to be up for mostof the major awards. Ralph Fiennes, just like Heath Ledger in"Brokeback Mountain" is a worthy candidate for the Best Actor award. Inthe actress category however, the film will probably undeservedly benominated. As Fiennes love interest, Rachel Weisz is unconvincing andthe film is better off when she is off-screen. Still, it's a powerfulfilm, and biased aside, it's difficult not to get hooked on anddefinitely a film worth watching. Just don't make too many judgementswithout hearing both sides of an argument.
I just got back from seeing "The Constant Gardner" and that's two hoursfrom my life that I'll just never be able to get back. I feel adesperate need to go see "Transporter 2" and "The Brothers Grimm" justso my movie-loving soul will stop dying inside me. If I wasn't sobroke, I'd go see "Transporter 2" repeatedly just so it would do betterthan "Gardner". With the Labor Day weekend, and the theater full likeit was, I'm worried that the film will actually turn a profit. Allthose poor souls such as myself who saw the four-star rating andthought it would be a good film. It saddens me to see such good talentssuch as Ralph Fiennes, Rachel Weisz, and Bill Nighy wasted on theatrocity that was this movie. Some might comment on it's realism. Atwo-hour autopsy might be more realistic than CSI, but that doesn'tmean I'd want to pay money to go see it, and I certainly wouldn'tprefer it. Where's James Bond and Jason Bourne when you need them?
Some movies are worth seeing, while others simply are not. This one is by far the best movie I have seen for some time. People who have posted negative reviews are entitled to their opinions; I can understand not enjoying the direction or being too feeble-minded to be able to keep up with the plot, however consider the grade distribution for this movie. It is so polarized between A's and F's that even if you do not enjoy the movie, I guarantee you will feel strongly about it.
Perhaps those who reviewd this film with a D or worse would have been better off in "The Wedding Crashers" or "The 40 Year Old Virgin." Those who found the movie "boring" may enjoy the crude humor and sex in the other movies better. This movie was stunning. Each shot was delicately shot giving a poetic effect. The subject is controversial, another reason some may not enjoy it. The truth of the matter is, it is an eye opener. Tears came streaming down my cheeks as I watched 2 and 3 year olds being murdered, corrupt companies choosing profits over life. If you lack a global perspective, an open mind and a love for quality films, you will see that this movie is truly worthy of a best picture Oscar.