Sunday, April 02, 2006
I had some problems with Fernando Meirelles' overly busy MTV-style fast-edit jump cuts--they mostly distract attention from what is already a complicated narrative--but overall thought The Constant Gardener very satisfying. Rachel Weisz plays Tessa, an NGO researcher who accompanies her husband Justin Quayle (Ralph Fiennes) on his mission to Kenya. While he muddles about in a low-level bureacratic post, she and an African doctor begin unraveling a conspiracy involving British government officials, intelligence operatives, and pharmaceutical giants to use poor Africans as unwitting guinea pigs in drug trials. Only after her murder does Justin realize what Tessa has been up to, and he takes it upon himself to re-create the investigation that led to her death. Very Kafka-esque, very pleasing to the paranoid pallet. Like its thematic forebear The Third Man, The Constant Gardener gives us a good idea of how the world really works. Strong performances from all the leads as well. After Spiderand Red Dragon it's good to see Ralph Fiennes still cleans up nicely.