Fernando Meirelles adaptation of John le carre 2001 novel The Constant Gardener is a drama film which is sure to buzz the movie goers around the world. The Film was nominated for four Academy Awards and Rachel Weisz won the award for the Best Supporting Actress .The film was made on a budget of 25 million dollars and it proved to be a commercial hit grossing revenue of around 83 million dollars globally.
The Constant Gardener starts with a murder, as any good mystery film does. British diplomat Justin Quayle (Ralph Fiennes) is a shy low-rung British diplomat and horticultural hobbyist posted in Nairobi, Kenya .His wife, Tessa (Rachel Weisz), is an activist with a keen interest in issues of poverty and social justice; Justin urges her to avoid getting too deeply involved in the people living in Kenya, who are constantly dogged by poverty, but she shows little interest in obeying these instructions. This isn't the only area where Tessa has disregarded her husband, who suspects that she may have had an affair - for she started spending time with a handsome black doctor (Arnold Bluhm) once they settled in Kenya. One day, Tessa along with Arnold disappears, and is found brutally murdered; officials believe that she was murdered by the doctor after some sort of argument. Sandy Woodrow, Sir Bernard Pellegrin, and the other members of the British High Commission assume that Tessa's widower, their mild-mannered colleague Justin, will leave the matter to their discretion. They could not be more wrong. This career diplomat's equilibrium has been exploded by the loss of the woman he was deeply devoted to. They were opposites whose attraction sustained a marriage, the memories of which now spur Justin to take decisive action for the first time in his life and diplomatic career. Haunted by remorse and jarred by rumours of his wife's infidelities, Justin surprises himself by plunging headlong into a dangerous odyssey. Determined to clear his wife's name and "finish what she started," Justin embarks on a crash course to learn about the pharmaceutical industry, whose crimes Tessa was on the verge of uncovering, and journeys across two continents in search of the truth. His eyes are soon opened to a vast conspiracy at once deadly and commonplace, one that has claimed innocent lives-and is about to put his own at risk.
Fiennes and Weisz are outstanding in this film; Oscar winning actor Fiennes playing Justin steals the show. Ralph Fiennes gives an extremely emotional and at times heartbreaking performance. The most compelling aspect of Constant Gardener is that it is a love story in which an emotional bond grows after one character's death. Fiennes is forced to have chemistry with another actor whom, during a good portion of the scenes, is no longer in the story. His dramatic work here is some of the best of his career. Rachel Weisz playing Tessa gives a charged, compelling performance as a pregnant and determined social activist. She commits fully to the material, lending the character of Tessa an exceptional strength that drives and defines her. Danny Huston is a peculiar choice to play Sandy, Justin’s devious colleague. He struggles with his “fake” British accent and a better choice of actor would have been beneficial for the character’s development. Even as the story wasn't always compelling, the acting is excellent.
With The Constant Gardener, Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles proves his surprise Academy Award nomination for directing the scorching City of God wasn't a stroke of luck. The guy obviously knows what he's doing and he provides energetic direction nailing the audience glued to their seats. Meirelles hands us the horrible, heart wrenching plight of the African people, focusing on the hauntingly beautiful Kenya and lovingly detailing its colourful people. Scenes of Tessa walking through barely liveable shantytowns, as bright, seemingly happy children run around her while singing, leaves a very indelible impression. He zooms in on these two people whose love is put to the test because of the circumstances they find themselves in, while wrapping up the narrative in a compact murder mystery, which may or may also involve a conspiracy of global proportions. The Constant Gardener is much more than just a mystery. It's going to make you think--and think hard.
The Constant Gardener is an elegant, absorbing, and suspenseful mystery with rich performances from the leads. Despite an unhurried opening, the energetic direction by Fernando Meirelles and admirable lead performances by Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz make this adapted film an exciting and suspenseful thriller
4 broccolis out of 5